Rapid assessment of cataract surgical coverage in rural Zululand

S Afr Med J. 2000 Oct;90(10):1030-2.


Objective: Cataract surgical coverage (CSC) is a useful indicator of the degree of success of a cataract intervention programme. However, because previously described methods are time-consuming and labour-intensive, they are rarely performed. This study describes a simple and inexpensive assessment of CSC based on screening of pensioners at pension delivery sites in a rural district.

Design: Random cluster-based cross-sectional survey.

Setting: State pension distribution sites in Hlabisa, a rural district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Subjects: 562 old-age pensioners.

Method: Subjects found to be blind (visual acuity < 3/60) and those reporting a history of eye surgery were examined using a torch and direct ophthalmoscope by an ophthalmologist.

Outcome measures: Cases of blindness due to operable cataract and post-cataract surgical subjects were identified.

Results: CSC was found to be 38.5% (95% confidence interval 29.1-47.9%). Blindness prevalence was 10.3%, with 69.0% due to cataract.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blindness / epidemiology
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control*
  • Cataract / complications
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Health Services Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pensions
  • Prevalence
  • South Africa / epidemiology