Self-reported cataracts in older adults in Ghana: sociodemographic and health related factors

Type Journal Article - BMC public health
Title Self-reported cataracts in older adults in Ghana: sociodemographic and health related factors
Volume 14
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Background: Changes in function of sensory organs with increasing age have significant impact on health and wellbeing of older persons. This paper describes cataract, a chronic eye condition, self-reported among older adults in Ghana and the need for improving access to eye care services. Methods: This work was based on the World Health Organization’s multi-country Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE), conducted in six countries including Ghana. SAGE Wave 1 in Ghana was conducted in 2007–2008 in a nationally representative sample of 4278 older adults, = 50 years. Data were obtained on sociodemographic and health factors related to self-reported cataracts in older persons in Ghana. Data were analysed using descriptive measures (frequencies and proportions), chi-square test for associations in categorical outcome measures, and logistic regression for predictors of cataracts with SPSS version 21. Results: Overall prevalence of self-reported cataracts among 4278 older adults in Ghana was 5.4%. Prevalence was proportionately higher for women (5.9%) than men (4.7%). Reported cataracts increased with age, among urban residents, in older adults living without partners and among those with the worse life satisfaction index. Older adults in lower income groups, poorly educated or living alone had difficulty seeking vision care services. Prevalence was 8.4% among persons with diabetes, 10.4% among hypertensives and 11.4% in persons with previous history of stroke. Among older persons who had ever used alcohol or tobacco, prevalence rates of reported cataracts were 5.7% and 4.9%, respectively. Logistic regression analysis indicated that increasing age, lower income status and self-reported hypertension were significantly associated with cataract among older adults in Ghana. Conclusions: Cataract is prevalent in older people in Ghana with approximately 1 in 20 people aged 50 years or older reporting a previous diagnosis of cataract. As cataract surgery is restorative, a public health approach on behavioural modification, well structured national outreach eye care services (for rural residents), inclusion of basic eye health services at sub-district levels, increased family support and national health insurance for older persons is indicated.

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