Background: Little information is available regarding the perceived need, previous acquisition, use and willingness to pay for spectacles in Fiji, on which to base spectacle provision services.
Methods: Using a rapid appraisal technique, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 174 urban and rural households in Fiji's Central Province to assist in planning eye-care services.
Results: Problems with distance and/or near vision comprised 85.8 per cent of reported eye problems and started between the ages of 40 and 64 years for 54.8 per cent of people surveyed. Of these vision problems, no treatment was sought for 24.2 per cent and of the remainder, spectacles were the treatment for 65.5 per cent. At least one person in 51.7 per cent of households previously or currently used spectacles, and 90 per cent of these reported using them for near tasks. Spectacle usage occurred in more urban (61.8 per cent) than rural (47.1 per cent) households. The majority (54.0 per cent) were willing to pay over FJD10 for spectacles in the future, although more rural (21.8 per cent) than urban (7.3 per cent) households were willing to pay less than FJD10 (USD 4.70). Where spectacles had been received at no cost in the past, 89.5 per cent were prepared to pay FJD10 or more for these in the future.
Conclusions: Given the high number of reported visual problems, it should be a priority to construct a sustainable spectacle system for Fiji. This will require further consultation with the community and government but it should be possible to design a system responsive to the financial and other needs of urban and rural Fijians.