Syed Mohammed Didarul Alam
University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
Syed Mohammed Didarul Alam is presently associated as a professor at the University Of Chittagong, Bangladesh as a senior optometrist.
The purpose of this study was to find out the ocular status, health seeking behaviors and barriers to uptake eye care services among children of slum community in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The study was conducted in several urban slums in Chittagong city, which is home of slum children. A total of 410 children were clinically examined. Their accompanying guardians were also interviewed for collecting health seeking behaviors and identifying the barriers, if any, to uptake eye care services. Three focus group discussions were held with guardians. Nearly 47.3% of the sampled children were male and 52.7% female. About 40% of children had different ocular complaints, where we found 36.6% having some ocular abnormalities. Most of them (73%) had never seen an eye care specialist. About 89.6% of the respondents have normal visual acuity 6/6. The common ocular problems encountered were Refractive Error (26.7%), Allergic Conjunctivitis (21.3%), Blepharitis (16.0%), Squint (7.3%), Convergence Insufficiency (4.0%), Mebomian Gland Dysfunction (8.7%), Dacrocystitis (3.3%), Congenital Cataract (2.7%), Conjunctivitis (4.0%), Xerophthalmia (1.3%), microphthalmos (1.3%), Ocular FB (1.3%). Infrequently Entropin, Corneal Opacities, Retobulbar Neuritis, Retinal Detachment, Episceleritis, Scelritis, Chalazion, and Stye were also present among children. About 4.9% children have night vision problem. About 16.8% of the children complained to have some abnormalities. It may be mentioned that, any complaint does not mean that the children have abnormalities, because they have not been assessed clinically. Many slum dwellers strongly believe about traditional treatment, but most of the guardians (70%) know where to go for the treatment. However, the guardians' of slum children cannot afford medical treatment due to their low financial condition.