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A comparison of entering vs. exiting visual acuities of a humanitarian eye glass mission to Mexico

1 September 2002


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of improvement in visual acuity (VA) of persons helped through humanitarian optometry.

Methods: A humanitarian clinic was established for 3 days in San Bias, Nayarit, Mexico. During the 3 days, 890 people were evaluated for refractive error, binocularity, and ocular health. Visual acuity was taken at the beginning of the evaluation and at the end when spectacle correction was dispensed.

Results: Significant improvement was seen in visual acuities at both distance and nearing the vast majority of patients seen. Data showed that of 731 people who received glasses for near (either as single vision or bifocal), the average exiting VA was between 20/20 and 20/3 0. The data also showed that of 413 people that received glasses for distance (single vision or bifocal), the average exiting VA was 20/32. An improvement in near acuity for cataract patients was evident, while improvement in distance acuity for these patients was minimal.

Conclusion: The people of third world countries are at a significant disadvantage in the realm of eye care. By simply providing spectacle corrections, a large portion of the population seen was able to improve their acuity status and be removed from the categories of visually impaired or legally blind.


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