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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

High prevalence of cataracts and pterygium in rural Salvadoran patients presenting at a temporary health clinic

Ethel Iliana Peralta Orellana, Optometrist, Clinica Peralta Orellana, Res. Jardines de Santa Fe, Pasaje Jasmin #10, San Salvador, El Salvador, 503.707.5924, eiliana_peralta@yahoo.com, Juno Obedin-Maliver, School of Natural Science, Hampshire College, Box 1277, 893 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002-5001, and Miriam L. Cremer, MD, MPH, Women and Children's Hospital, University of Southern California, 1240 North Mission Road, Room 21009, Los Angeles, CA 91030.

Eye care in the rural areas of El Salvador is lacking. A temporary clinic was established in the rural department of San Vicente to offset the dirge of medical care in the region. Community members were invited to health fairs through a local health organization. Using an ophthalmoscope, automatic lensmeter, retinoscope, Read, Landolf and Snellen cards, and portable diagnostic lenses, 913 exams were performed by Salvadoran optometrists on patients aged 0-99. Prevalence of cataracts in this population was 8.2%, 15.5%, 41.1%, 50.5 %, 29.7%, and 40.2% for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th decades, respectively. Pterygium prevalence peaked amongst 50-59 year-olds for the same decades (2.5%, 5.8%, 23.4%, 5.1%, 20.7%, 18.5%, respectively). Many patients also presented with both diseases (e.g. 10.5% of 50-59 year-olds). These data indicate higher than expected prevalence of these diseases, combined and distinctly, at an earlier onset than expected when compared to the clinical impressions of these optometrists from the capital city. In this region the risk factors and areas for public health intervention include: radiation, particulate and pollution exposure (especially agricultural and textile related); pre-existing systemic diseases (e.g. diabetes); chronic infections; ocular trauma, and lack of protective eyewear. In addition, the poor access to eye care must be addressed. Though treatment is in demand in this population, surgery to correct such maladies is financially and structurally beyond most Salvadorans. Further investigation about the prevalence and morbidity in this population combined with measures to increase access to prevention and treatment measures are warranted.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Latin American, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

International Eye Care

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA