Geraldine Nyasha Chipendo, James January, Roy Tapera and Blessing Dube
It is estimated that 1% of the Zimbabwean population is blind with half of these cases being attributed to causes other than cataracts and that 80% of these causes are avoidable. A cross sectional survey was carried out in Chiota, Zimbabwe aiming to investigate the factors leading to an increase in the prevalence of eye diseases in the 14-40 years age group. A total of 53 males and 47 females took part in the study. The mean age was 28 years (SD 6.24). 85% of the participants earned a monthly income less than USD 100. 71% of the participants reported having a history of eye disease. There was an association between occupation and belief of being at risk of eye diseases (p=0.0008). Losing one’s job (83.3%) and the belief that healthy eyes were the basis for survival (82.9%) were the major reasons why eye diseases were viewed as severe. A significant association between reporting to the hospital and sex was observed (p=0.003). Both males and females resorted to self treatment. There was an association between employment status and having had an eye disease (p=0.014) with farmers (69%) and artisans (14.1%) being the most affected. An association existed between workplace and having had an eye disease in the past four months (p=0.05). There is need for a multisectoral approach in the fight to curb eye diseases in Chiota communal lands guided by the three main components of the Ottawa charter of 1986.
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