The study was conducted to evaluate the eye care services provided by optometrist in the public health sector in 2012.
Less than 10% of the total number of optometrist registered in South Africa practice in the public health sector. In March 2017 the number of optometrist in the public sector were recorded to be 262.
This equates to an optometrist:patient ratio in the public sector of 1:150 179 compared to the 1:4537 in the private sector.
The following findings were reported in this study:
- 54.5% of optometrist in this district visited outreach facilities
- Each optometrist visited between 3-10 outreach facilities
- 83.3% had to travel more than 50 km from the base hospital to the outreach facility
- The waiting period for patients to be seen at the outreach facility was between 1-3 months, and for referral between 1-6 months
- Three most common conditions which required referral were crystalline lens changes (81%), glaucoma(54.5%) and retinal or pediatric conditions (36.4%)
All the participants to the study reported a lack of equipment with only half of the outreach facilities reporting access to VA charts and trial lens and frames sets.