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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 77-85

Outcome of vision screening by community health workers at immunization outlets in Nigeria to support access to early visual evaluation in children aged 0–2 years


1 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Health, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
4 Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dupe S Ademola-Popoola
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin, P.O. Box 4718, Ilorin, Kwara State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/tjo.tjo_39_20

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PURPOSE: Routine eye examination in early life is not the practice in most resource-limited countries. Delay in the presentation for eye problems is typical. Community health officers are often consulted by caregivers for all health problems during routine immunization and well-baby clinics in primary healthcare for children aged 0–2 years. This study evaluated the value and limitation of interview, Bruckner red reflex test, and instrument vision screener by noneye care middle-level staff of rural and urban well-baby immunization clinics, in early detection and referral for childhood eye disorders. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study. Middle-level community health workers (CHWs) working at well-baby/ immunization clinics were trained to perform vision screening using interview of caregivers, red reflex eye examination with ophthalmoscope, and instrument vision screener (Welch Allyn SPOT™ Vision Screener) without mydriatic drugs during routine immunization of children aged 0–2 years. IRB approval was obtained. RESULTS: Over a 6-month period in 2017, the CHWs screened 5609 children. Overall, 628 (11.2%) patients were referred to the tertiary child eye care unit. Referred cases included cataract, glaucoma, congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction, ophthalmia neonatorum, retinoblastoma, and significant refractive errors. Referral from the interview of mothers was enhanced if specific questions to elicit visual function were asked. Bruckner red reflex test was more effective than instrument vision screener in the detection of cataract and life-threatening diseases such as retinoblastoma. Instrument vision screener was preferred by parents and better at detecting amblyopic risk factors. CONCLUSION: Preschool vision screening during routine immunization by primary healthcare workers in resource-limited settings was effective. Whenever instrument vision screener does not give any recommendation during screening, consider vision- or life-threatening pathology and refer.


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