Africa, Subsahara: Cataract
Nick Asbury & Covadonga Bascaran on behalf of the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Aim

Improving cataract surgical outcomes through online continuing professional development education in diagnostic training in sub-Saharan Africa

The project

Annually, an estimated 2.3 million people across sub-Saharan Africa are unneccessarily blind due to cataracts, and there is evidence that the quality of cataract surgery in this region fails to reach World Health Organization targets. Reasons for bad cataract surgical outcomes may include incorrect patient selection, surgical complications and lack of spectacle correction. Continuing professional development (CPD) has been strongly linked to increasing the quality of medical practices. While enhanced training of cataract surgeons would help to improve visual outcomes after surgery, there are currently no CPD courses on cataract surgery in sub–Saharan Africa.

The aim of this project is to improve cataract surgical outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, through the development of an open-access, online training module for cataract surgeons and ophthalmologists. Online education has the ability to reach populations outside urban settlements, which is essential for sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority live in rural regions.

The training module will include B-Scan Ultrasound Training to address the issues around adequate patient selection, and provide training support for A-Scan Biometry and Keratometry, aiming to improve accurate intraocular lens implantation and decrease avoidable postoperative refractive error.