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OBJECTIVE: 1) To estimate the burden of ocular morbidity in the study area; 2) To ascertain the treatment seeking behavior of patients having ocular morbidity with particular emphasis on the degree of treatment compliance: 3)To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of the community regarding ocular morbidity
METHODS: A cross sectional survey was conducted on Ward N.8 of Naraingarh, District Ambala, Haryana. North India from February to June 2004. Sample size was calculated to be 245.All members present in the house at the time of visit were included in the study. A focus group discussion on eye disorders was also conducted in the community.
RESULTS: A total of 73 houses (223 persons) were surveyed. The point prevalence of cases of ocular morbidity was 40% and that of ocular morbid conditions was 55%. Ocular morbidity rate was 1.4 conditions per person. Prevalence of refractive errors (26%) was highest followed by presbyopia (7.2%) and cataract (7.2%). Consultation rate for treatment was 45%. Compliance to treatment was 25%. Reasons for non-compliance were simple non-adoption of the prescribed treatment, mild nature of disease, lack of money. People bought spectacles from street vendors. Money spent on treatment of eye illnesses was less than Rs 500 in 52 % of patients and 40% of patients got treatment free of cost. Weakness, poor diet and poverty were told as etiological factors for eye diseases by residents.
CONCLUSION: A rather high prevalence of ocular morbidity was largely ignored by the sufferers. Three fourths of the patients did not comply with the treatment advised. Quackery and traditional remedies were also witnessed.