Bilateral cataract

Investigation of the need for low vision services among children who have undergone surgery for bilateral cataract.

BCPB supported a project led by Dr Priya Morjaria in Nepal and Bangladesh, focusing on children who had undergone bilateral cataract surgery. Cataract is the commonest cause of avoidable blindness in children in many developing countries. However, vision after surgery is often poor because children present late, which leads to “lazy eyes”, they have other eye abnormalities, and poor or complicated surgery. Post-surgery, these children need an assessment for low vision aids such as magnifiers and telescopes that might improve their visual function and enable them to attend school. Little is known about the low vision needs of these children or the extent to which their visual function can be improved. Simple, inexpensive interventions which lead to greater educational opportunities for children with low vision will have a lifelong impact.

This project was undertaken in two high volume child eye centres in Nepal and Bangladesh to understand whether all children require low vision assessment after cataract surgery.

Dr Morjaria and Andrew Miller a low vision specialist from Focus Birmingham conducted three successful day training workshops attended by all those involved in low vision assessment and rehabilitation at both centres. The workshop consisted of theory sessions and hands-on sessions where the participants conducted low vision assessments for children. Some of the key findings from this research will now be used for recommendations to both centres. An interesting finding is that while children need to be assessed for low vision after their cataract surgery, referring all children may not be the best use of the limited resources. However, this would mean that the personnel that decide which children require a low vision assessment would need training to ensure they have the skills to make that decision.

An update about this work will be added soon