Sinbona Geleta Dendea
Introduction: Low vision rehabilitation services are one of the least covered subjects in ophthalmic literatures. But, 2.2 billion people have Visual Impairment (VI) or blindness worldwide. Among these, 1 billion people have VI that could have been prevented or addressed.
Objective: To determine the barriers of low vision rehabilitation services in Ethiopia.
Methodology: A cross sectional descriptive survey conducted over practicing ophthalmic personnel in Ethiopia from June 1-July 30, 2020. The data was entered to Epi data manager version 126.96.36.199 and exported to SPSS version 23 for analyses. Descriptive statistics like means, proportions and frequency tables was applied for different analysis. Chi-square test was used to test association between independent variable and dependent variables.
Results: A total of 150 (72.8%) out of 206 responded to the questionnaire and completed it. 115 (76.7%) were males. Mean and standard deviation of age was 30.62 ± 3.89 years. Among study participant’s 54 (36.0%) were Ophthalmologists and subspecialists, 6 (4.0%) Cataract-Surgeon, 49 (32.7%) Ophthalmology-Residents and 27 (18%) Optometrists. The major barriers in providing low visions care includes: non-availability and expensiveness of low vision devices 136 (90.67%), lack of training 117 (78%), lack of awareness 49 (32.7%) and lack of interest/motivation 38 (25.3%). The perception that lack of interest/motivation is a major barrier is significantly higher (OR 3.148 (1.459, 6.795)) among knowledgeable than not knowledgeable about low vision services and among those trained in Ethiopia (OR 5.062(1.345, 19.050)) than abroad. Lack of training was perceived to be a major constraint in a greater proportion of respondents who were from institution giving low vision rehabilitation (OR 4.0125 (1.471, 10.945)) than who didn’t.
Conclusion and recommendation: Non-availability of low-vision devices and expensiveness of low vision device within the country is the most common constraint for the provision of low vision rehabilitation. It is better if Ethiopian Ministry of Health give concern for ways to provide low vision devices at all government eye care services.