Abstract #86748 Published in IGR 21-2

Referral patterns of children with glaucoma and their caretakers in Northern Tanzania

Fieß A; Godfrey F; Schuster AK; Bowman R; Philippin H
International Journal of Ophthalmology 2020; 13: 452-457

AIM: To describe the referral patterns of children with primary childhood glaucoma (PCG) or secondary childhood glaucoma (SCG) and their presenting symptoms in Northern Tanzania. METHODS: A retrospective observational study of children <17y with PCG or SCG who were referred to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) Eye Department between 2000 and 2013 was conducted. Presenting symptoms, age at presentation, place of origin, distance to hospital, type of glaucoma, visual acuity, optic disc appearance (vertical cup-to-disc ratio) and type of referral were described. RESULTS: Seventy patients with PCG and 27 patients with SCG were included in the study. Median age at first presentation was 1y in the PCG group (range 0-16y) and 9y in the SCG group (range 1-15y). In both groups around 87% of the children presented already with low vision (logMAR>0.48, better eye). Most of the children (60%) and their caretakers presented on their own initiative, while 24% were sent by different general health cadres and 16% by eye care professionals. Buphthalmos was the main symptom mentioned as a trigger for presentation. CONCLUSION: The study shows that most of the children presented late resulting in advanced stages of glaucoma at the time of initiation of treatment. The majority attended the referral eye department on their own initiative with buphthalmos being the most commonly described symptom. Awareness creation among caretakers of children, general health and eye care providers, ideally embedded in general child health promotion activities, is needed to increase and accelerate referrals.

Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz 55131, Germany.

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9.1.2 Juvenile glaucoma (Part of: 9 Clinical forms of glaucomas > 9.1 Developmental glaucomas)
1.6 Prevention and screening (Part of: 1 General aspects)
1.5 Glaucomas as cause of blindness (Part of: 1 General aspects)

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