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Results and safety profile of trainee cataract surgeons in a community setting in East Africa

Mavrakanas, N; Dhalla, K; Jecha, J; Kapesa, I; Odouard, C; Murdoch, I; (2016) Results and safety profile of trainee cataract surgeons in a community setting in East Africa. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology , 64 (11) pp. 818-821. 10.4103/0301-4738.195594. Green open access

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Purpose: To evaluate the results and safety profile of assistant medical officer ophthalmologists (AMO-O) performing cataract surgery in the last stage of their surgical training, before their appointment to local communities. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the records of patients who underwent cataract surgery by AMO-Os at Dar es Salaam, Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation for Tanzania Disability Hospital between September 2008 and June 2011. Surgical options were either extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) or manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS), both with polymethylmethacrylate intraocular lens implantation. Results: Four hundred and fourteen patients were included in the study. Two hundred and twenty-five (54%) underwent ECCE and 189 had MSICS. Mean logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA) improved from 2.4 ± 0.6 preoperatively to 1.3 ± 0.8 1 week postoperatively (t-test, P < 0.001) and to 1.1 ± 0.7 3 months postoperatively (t-test, P < 0.001). Mean logMAR best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 0.7 ± 0.5 1 week postoperatively and 0.6 ± 0.5 3 months postoperatively. There was no significant difference in mean logMAR UCVA (P = 0.7) and BCVA (P = 0.7) postoperatively between ECCE and MSICS. 89.5% achieved BCVA better than 6/60 and 57.3% better than 6/18 with a follow-up of 3 months. Posterior capsule rupture and/or vitreous loss occurred in 34/414 patients (8.2%) and was more frequent (P = 0.047) in patients undergoing ECCE (10.2%) compared with MSICS (5.3%). Conclusion: AMO-O cataract surgeons at the end of their training offer significant improvement in the visual acuity of their patients. Continuous monitoring of outcomes will guide further improvements in surgical skills and minimize complications. In the era of phacoemulsification for cataract surgery, extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) and manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS) are still widely held to be the techniques of choice for the developing world.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Both MSICS and ECCE are affordable[6] and are considered safe and effective for the treatment of cataract patients in community eye care settings. MSICS appears to provide better postoperative uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA)[1] and faster rehabilitation[7] compared with ECCE although the technique is more challenging. In Tanzania, in addition to medical doctors, there is a special cadre of health professionals, created to care for the large population, called assistant medical officers (AMOs). AMOs can specialize in ophthalmology for 2 years and become AMO ophthalmologists (AMO-O) who perform cataract surgery. AMO-O's are a subtype of nonphysician cataract surgeons previously described by Lewallen et al.[8] AMO-Os deliver high-volume cataract surgery in community eye care settings and are essential in reducing the backlog of cataract-related visual disability. AMO-Os are more likely to set up their practice and stay in rural areas than ophthalmologists tied to larger centers and in addition, their training is shorter and less expensive compared to ophthalmologists.[8],[9] Ensuring sufficient training of AMO-Os in cataract surgery is necessary to achieve good visual outcomes and maintain low rates of complications. This is particularly important in an African community setting, where follow-up may not be optimal and management of complications more challenging. In this study, we evaluate the results and safety profile of AMO-O cataract surgeons. The surgeries were supervised by trainers and performed entirely by the AMO-O in the last stage of their surgical training (6-9 months), before operating independently in their local communities. Patients with diabetes were excluded from the surgical cohort for AMO-Os.

Type: Article
Title: Results and safety profile of trainee cataract surgeons in a community setting in East Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.195594
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.4103/0301-4738.195594
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Africa, assistant medical officer-ophthalmologist, cataract surgeons, complications, extracapsular cataract extraction, manual small incision cataract surgery, training
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551553
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