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1.  Strengthening diabetes retinopathy services in India: Qualitative insights into providers' perspectives: The India 11-city 9-state study 
There is a lack of evidence on the subjective aspects of the provider perspective regarding diabetes and its complications in India.
The study was undertaken to understand the providers' perspective on the delivery of health services for diabetes and its complications, specifically the eye complications in India.
Settings and Design:
Hospitals providing diabetic services in government and private sectors were selected in 11 of the largest cities in India, based on geographical distribution and size.
Fifty-nine semi-structured interviews conducted with physicians providing diabetes care were analyzed all interviews were recorded, transcribed, and translated. Nvivo 10 software was used to code the transcripts. Thematic analysis was conducted to analyze the data.
The results are presented as key themes: “Challenges in managing diabetes patients,” “Current patient management practices,” and “Strengthening diabetic retinopathy (DR) services at the health systems level.” Diabetes affects people early across the social classes. Self-management was identified as an important prerequisite in controlling diabetes and its complications. Awareness level of hospital staff on DR was low. Advances in medical technology have an important role in effective management of DR. A team approach is required to provide comprehensive diabetic care.
Sight-threatening DR is an impending public health challenge that needs a concerted effort to tackle it. A streamlined, multi-dimensional approach where all the stakeholders cooperate is important to strengthening services dealing with DR in the existing health care setup.
PMCID: PMC4847451  PMID: 27144138
Diabetes; diabetes retinopathy; health system response; India; providers perspective
2.  Assessing the prevalence of sensory and motor impairments in childhood in Bangladesh using key informants 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2014;99(12):1103-1108.
The study was conducted to determine whether trained key informants (KI) could identify children with impairments.
Trained KI identified children with defined impairments/epilepsy who were then examined by a medical team at a nearby assessment centre (Key Informant Methodology: KIM). A population-based household randomised sample survey was also conducted for comparing the prevalence estimates.
Three districts in North Bangladesh.
Study population of approximately 258 000 children aged 0–<18 years, within which 3910 children were identified by KI, 94.8% of whom attended assessment camps. In the household survey, 8120 children were examined, of whom 119 were identified with an impairment/epilepsy.
Main outcome measures
Prevalence estimates of severe visual impairment (SVI), moderate/severe hearing impairment (HI), substantial physical impairment (PI) and epilepsy.
Overall prevalence estimates of impairments, including presumed HI, showed significant differences comparing KIM (9.0/1000 (95% CI 8.7 to 9.4)) with the household survey (14.7/1000 (95% CI 12.0 to 17.3)). Good agreement was observed for SVI (KIM 0.7/1000 children: survey 0.5/1000), PI (KIM 6.2/1000 children: survey 8.0/1000) and epilepsy (KIM 1.5/1000 children: survey 2.2/1000). Prevalence estimates for HI were much lower using KIM (2/1000) compared to the survey (6.4/1000). Excluding HI, overall prevalence estimates were similar (KIM: 7.5/1000 children (95% CI 7.2 to 7.8) survey: 8.4/1000 (95% CI 6.4 to 10.4)).
KIM offers a low cost and relatively rapid way to identify children with SVI, PI and epilepsy in Bangladesh. HI is underestimated using KIM, requiring further research.
PMCID: PMC4251542  PMID: 25005523
Comm Child Health; Deafness; Musculo-Skeletal; Tropical Paediatrics
3.  Elimination of avoidable blindness due to cataract: Where do we prioritize and how should we monitor this decade? 
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology  2012;60(5):438-445.
In the final push toward the elimination of avoidable blindness, cataract occupies a position of eminence for the success of the Right to Sight initiative.
Review existing situation and assess what monitoring indicators may be useful to chart progress towards attaining the goals of Vision 2020.
Settings and Design:
Review of published papers from low and middle income countries since 2000.
Materials and Methods:
Published population-based data on prevalence of cataract blindness/visual impairment were accessed and prevalence of cataract blindness/visual impairment computed, where not reported. Data on prevalence of cataract blindness, cataract surgical coverage at different visual acuity cut offs, surgical outcomes, and prevalence of cataract surgery were analyzed. Scatter plots were used to look at relationships of some variables, with Human Development Index (HDI) rank. Available data on Cataract Surgical Rate (CSR) was plotted against prevalence of cataract surgery reported from surveys.
Worse HDI Ranks were associated with higher prevalence of cataract blindness. Most studies showed that a significant proportion of the blind were covered by surgery, while a fifth showed that a significant proportion, were operated before they went blind. A good visual outcome after surgery was positively correlated with higher surgical coverage. CSR was positively correlated with cataract surgical coverage.
Cataract surgical coverage is increasing in most countries at vision <3/60 and visual outcomes after cataract surgery are improving. Establishing population-based surveillance of cataract surgical need and performance is a strong monitoring tool and will help program planners immensely.
PMCID: PMC3491272  PMID: 22944756
Blindness; cataract extraction; cataract; coverage; data aggregation; population; prevalence; visual impairment
4.  A Population-based survey of the prevalence and types of glaucoma in Nigeria: results from the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 
BMC Ophthalmology  2015;15:176.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. There tends to be a lower reporting of glaucoma in Africa compared to other blinding conditions in global burden data. Research findings of glaucoma in Nigeria will significantly increase our understanding of glaucoma in Nigeria, in people of the West African diaspora and similar population groups. We determined the prevalence and types of glaucoma in Nigeria from the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment cross-sectional Survey of adults aged ≥40 years.
Multistage stratified cluster random sampling with probability-proportional-to-size procedures were used to select a nationally representative sample of 15,027 persons aged ≥40 years. Participants had logMAR visual acuity measurement, FDT visual function testing, autorefraction, A-scan biometry and optic disc assessment. Participants with visual acuity of worse than 6/12 or suspicious optic discs had detailed examination including Goldmann applanation tonometry, gonioscopy and fundus photography. Disc images were graded by Moorfields Eye Hospital Reading Centre. Glaucoma was defined using International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology criteria; and classified into primary open-angle or primary angle-closure or secondary glaucoma. Diagnosis of glaucoma was based on ISGEO classification. The type of glaucoma was determined by gonioscopy.
A total of 13,591 participants in 305 clusters were examined (response rate 90.4 %). Optic disc grading was available for 25,289 (93 %) eyes of 13,081 (96 %) participants. There were 682 participants with glaucoma; a prevalence of 5.02 % (95 % CI 4.60–5.47). Among those with definite primary glaucoma that had gonioscopy (n = 243), open-angle glaucoma was more common (86 %) than angle-closure glaucoma (14 %). 8 % of glaucoma was secondary with the commonest causes being couching (38 %), trauma (21 %) and uveitis (19 %). Only 5.6 % (38/682) of participants with glaucoma knew they had the condition. One in every 5 persons with glaucoma (136;20 %) was blind i.e., visual acuity worse than 3/60.
Nigeria has a high prevalence of glaucoma which is largely open-angle glaucoma. A high proportion of those affected are blind. Secondary glaucoma was mostly as a consequence of procedures for cataract. Public health control strategies and high quality glaucoma care service will be required to reduce morbidity and blindness from glaucoma.
PMCID: PMC4676891  PMID: 26653326
Prevalence; Glaucoma; Epidemiology; Nigeria; Open-angle glaucoma; Angle-closure glaucoma
5.  Birth Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects and Orofacial Clefts in India: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0118961.
In the last two decades, India has witnessed a substantial decrease in infant mortality attributed to infectious disease and malnutrition. However, the mortality attributed to birth defects remains constant. Studies on the prevalence of birth defects such as neural tube defects and orofacial clefts in India have reported inconsistent results. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of observational studies to document the birth prevalence of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts.
A comprehensive literature search for observational studies was conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases using key MeSH terms (neural tube defects OR cleft lip OR cleft palate AND Prevalence AND India). Two reviewers independently reviewed the retrieved studies, and studies satisfying the eligibility were included. The quality of included studies was assessed using selected criteria from STROBE statement.
The overall pooled birth prevalence (random effect) of neural tube defects in India is 4.5 per 1000 total births (95% CI 4.2 to 4.9). The overall pooled birth prevalence (random effect) of orofacial clefts is 1.3 per 1000 total births (95% CI 1.1 to 1.5). Subgroup analyses were performed by region, time period, consanguinity, and gender of newborn.
The overall prevalence of neural tube defects from India is high compared to other regions of the world, while that of orofacial clefts is similar to other countries. The majority of studies included in the review were hospital based. The quality of these studies ranged from low to moderate. Further well-designed, high quality community-based observational studies are needed to accurately estimate the burden of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts in India.
PMCID: PMC4358993  PMID: 25768737
6.  Cataract, Visual Impairment and Long-Term Mortality in a Rural Cohort in India: The Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78002.
A large-scale prevalence survey of blindness and visual impairment (The Andhra Pradesh Eye Diseases Study [APEDS1]) was conducted between 1996-2000 on 10,293 individuals of all ages in three rural and one urban clusters in Andhra Pradesh, Southern India. More than a decade later (June 2009-March 2010), APEDS1 participants in rural clusters were traced (termed APEDS2) to determine ocular risk factors for mortality in this longitudinal cohort.
Methods and Findings
Mortality hazard ratio (HR) analysis was performed for those aged >30 years at APEDS1, using Cox proportional hazard regression models to identify associations between ocular exposures and risk of mortality. Blindness and visual impairment (VI) were defined using Indian definitions. 799/4,188 (19.1%) participants had died and 308 (7.3%) had migrated. Mortality was higher in males than females (p<0.001). In multivariable analysis, after adjusting for age, gender, diabetes, hypertension, body mass index, smoking and education status the mortality HR was 1.9 (95% CI: 1.5-2.5) for blindness; 1.4 (95% CI: 1.2-1.7) for VI; 1.8 (95% CI: 1.4-2.3) for pure nuclear cataract, 1.5 (95% CI: 1.1-2.1) for pure cortical cataract; 1.96 (95% CI: 1.6-2.4) for mixed cataract, 2.0 (95% CI: 1.4-2.9) for history of cataract surgery, and 1.58 (95% CI: 1.3-1.9) for any cataract. When all these factors were included in the model, the HRs were attenuated, being 1.5 (95% CI: 1.1-2.0) for blindness and 1.2 (95% CI: 0.9-1.5) for VI. For lens type, the HRs were as follows: pure nuclear cataract, 1.6 (95% CI: 1.3-2.1); pure cortical cataract, 1.5 (95% CI: 1.1-2.1); mixed cataract, 1.8 (95% CI: 1.4-2.2), and history of previous cataract surgery, 1.8 (95% CI: 1.3-2.6).
All types of cataract, history of cataract surgery and VI had an increased risk of mortality that further suggests that these could be potential markers of ageing.
PMCID: PMC3837009  PMID: 24282482
7.  Prevalence of Cataract in an Older Population in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(2-19):272-278.e2.
To describe the prevalence of cataract in older people in 2 areas of north and south India.
Population-based, cross-sectional study.
Randomly sampled villages were enumerated to identify people aged ≥60 years. Of 7518 enumerated people, 78% participated in a hospital-based ophthalmic examination.
The examination included visual acuity measurement, dilatation, and anterior and posterior segment examination. Digital images of the lens were taken and graded by type and severity of opacity using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III).
Main Outcome Measures
Age- and gender-standardized prevalence of cataract and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We defined type of cataract based on the LOCS III grade in the worse eye of: ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any unoperated cataract was based on these criteria or ungradable dense opacities. Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
The prevalence of unoperated cataract in people aged ≥60 was 58% in north India (95% CI, 56–60) and 53% (95% CI, 51–55) in south India (P = 0.01). Nuclear cataract was the most common type: 48% (95% CI, 46–50) in north India and 38% (95% CI, 37–40) in south India (P<0.0001); corresponding figures for PSC were 21% (95% CI, 20–23) and 17% (95% CI, 16–19; P = 0.003), respectively, and for cortical cataract 7.6% (95% CI, 7–9) and 10.2% (95% CI, 9–11; P<0.004). Bilateral aphakia/pseudophakia was slightly higher in the south (15.5%) than in the north (13.2%; P<0.03). The prevalence of any cataracts was similar in north (73.8%) and south India (71.8%). The prevalence of unoperated cataract increased with age and was higher in women than men (odds ratio [OR], 1.8). Aphakia/pseudophakia was also more common in women, either unilateral (OR, 1.2; P<0.02) or bilateral (OR, 1.3; P<0.002).
We found high rates of unoperated cataract in older people in north and south India. Posterior subcapsular cataract was more common than in western studies. Women had higher rates of cataract, which was not explained by differential access to surgery.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any of the materials discussed in this article.
PMCID: PMC3146699  PMID: 20801514
8.  Prevalence of Early and Late Age-Related Macular Degeneration in India: The INDEYE Study 
This large, two-center, population-based study provides estimates of the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in India.
To estimate the prevalence of early and late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in India.
Of 7518 people aged 60 years and older identified from randomly sampled villages in North and South India, 5853 (78%) attended an eye examination including fundus photography. Fundus images were graded according to the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.
Fundus images were ungradable in 1587 people, mainly because of cataract. People 80 years of age and older were less likely to attend the eye examination and more likely to have ungradable images. For ages 60 to 79 years, the percent prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) were late AMD 1.2 (0.8–1.5); and early AMD: grade 1 (soft distinct drusen or pigmentary irregularities), 39.3 (37.2–41.5); grade 2 (soft distinct drusen with pigmentary irregularities or soft indistinct or reticular drusen), 6.7 (5.8–7.6); and grade 3 (soft indistinct or reticular drusen with pigmentary irregularities), 0.2 (0.1–0.4). For ages 80 and older, the respective percent prevalence was: late AMD, 2.5 (0.4–4.7); and early AMD: grade 1, 43.1(35.7–50.6); grade 2, 8.1 (4.3–12.0); and grade 3, 0.5 (0–1.5).
The prevalence of early AMD (grades 1 and 2) is similar to that observed in Western populations, but grade 3 appears to be lower. The prevalence of late AMD is comparable to that in Western populations in the age group 60 to 79 years. It is likely that the prevalence in the 80 and older age group is underestimated.
PMCID: PMC2868454  PMID: 19696177
9.  Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness in India 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2867.
Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness provides valid estimates in a short period of time to assess the magnitude and causes of avoidable blindness. The study determined magnitude and causes of avoidable blindness in India in 2007 among the 50+ population.
Methods and Findings
Sixteen randomly selected districts where blindness surveys were undertaken 7 to 10 years earlier were identified for a follow up survey. Stratified cluster sampling was used and 25 clusters (20 rural and 5 urban) were randomly picked in each district.. After a random start, 100 individuals aged 50+ were enumerated and examined sequentially in each cluster. All those with presenting vision <6/18 were dilated and examined by an ophthalmologist. 42722 individuals aged > = 50 years were enumerated, and 94.7% examined. Based on presenting vision,, 4.4% (95% Confidence Interval[CI]: 4.1,4.8) were severely visually impaired (vision<6/60 to 3/60 in the better eye) and 3.6% (95% CI: 3.3,3.9) were blind (vision<3/60 in the better eye). Prevalence of low vision (<6/18 to 6/60 in the better eye) was 16.8% (95% CI: 16.0,17.5). Prevalence of blindness and severe visual impairment (<6/60 in the better eye) was higher among rural residents (8.2%; 95% CI: 7.9,8.6) compared to urban (7.1%; 95% CI: 5.0, 9.2), among females (9.2%; 95% CI: 8.6,9.8) compared to males (6.5%; 95% CI: 6.0,7.1) and people above 70 years (20.6%; 95% CI: 19.1,22.0) compared to people aged 50–54 years (1.3%; 95% CI: 1.1,1.6). Of all blindness, 88.2% was avoidable. of which 81.9% was due to cataract and 7.1% to uncorrected refractive errors/uncorrected aphakia.
Cataract and refractive errors are major causes of blindness and low vision and control strategies should prioritize them. Most blindness and low vision burden is avoidable.
PMCID: PMC2478719  PMID: 18682738

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