Strategies for improvement of management of ocular complications in leprosy

Indian J Lepr. 1998 Jan-Mar;70(1):61-70.


Responsibility for eye care of leprosy-affected persons should be shared between leprosy and eye care staff. Leprosy and PHC staff should be responsible for: treatment of reversal reactions in the face, and of recent lagophthalmos, with prednisolone, conservative treatment of mild lagophthalmos, referral of patients with severe lagophthalmos and/or exposure keratitis, unless there is sufficient expertise within the programme, recognition of the acute red eye and treatment of acute conjunctivitis, referral of all other conditions of acute red eye, unless there is sufficient expertise within the programme, recognition of severe visual impairment and referral as needed, recognition of the need for reading glasses in patients aged over 40 years, in rehabilitation services, encouraging medical colleges, Control of Blindness Societies, and staff of general eye care facilities, to actively take part in the treatment of eye complications in patients affected by leprosy, and encouraging charitable organizations to provide special eye care programmes for patients affected by leprosy, in particular for those who are disabled and are living in leprosy settlements. Eye care services (a visiting ophthalmologist or paramedical ophthalmic assistant to the specialized leprosy centres for consultation is an appropriate alternative and may sometimes be even more feasible) should take the responsibility for: eyelid surgery in patients with large lid gaps (> 6 mm), or, signs of exposure keratitis, and treatment and follow-up of acute iritis, corneal ulcers, foreign bodies, and other causes of 'the acute red eye', in cooperation with the leprosy service or PHC staff. The eye care services should offer 'positive discrimination' in the treatment of cataract-blind leprosy patients, realizing the great difficulties that these patients have in avoiding injuries or taking care of injuries once they have occurred, especially in the case of limbs that have lost protective sensation.

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Disease Management*
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eye Diseases / prevention & control
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Leprosy / complications*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Program Development
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Vision Disorders / prevention & control
  • Vision Disorders / therapy