Change in function and spectacle-use 2 months after providing presbyopic spectacles in rural Tanzania

Ilesh Patel, Beatriz Munoz, Harran Mkocha, Alison W. Schwarzwalder, Wilson Mchiwa, Sheila K. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aims: To examine near vision spectacle retention and use, and changes in self-reported and performance-based near vision, 2 months after the provision of near vision spectacles. Methods: We conducted a 2-month follow-up of a population-based cohort of persons in rural Tanzania with near vision impairment who had received spectacles. Previously, residents age ≥40 years were examined for distance and near vision acuity. Those with presbyopia and hyperopia ('functional presbyopia') were given near vision spectacles. At baseline, subjects were asked to thread a needle; they were also asked questions on the perception of their near vision, ability to be independent and general health. At 2 months, subjects were again queried. Questions on the perceived affordability of replacement spectacles were also asked. Results: Of the 866 people provided with spectacles, 89% were seen at 2 months. Ninety-two per cent were still using the spectacles. Users were more likely to have any education (51.8%) than non-users (28.3%) (p<0.001). Only 31% had successfully threaded a needle at baseline, increasing to 91% at follow-up (p<0.001). Spectacle-users showed a significant improvement in satisfaction with near vision and ability to be independent, but no change in perception of general health, from baseline to follow-up. Men were more likely than women to be able to afford spectacles and to know where to get them. Conclusions: Our cohort maintained their spectacles and reported tangible improvements associated with their use. The value of simple reading spectacles for those with near vision impairment suggests that a greater emphasis on near vision is needed in the Vision 2020 agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-689
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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