METHODOLOGY: This is a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent cataract surgery in Kuala Pilah Cluster Hospitals between 2010 and 2017. A total of 2539 records of patients were reviewed. Patients were assigned into two groups: Group 1 (2010-2012)- before the programme (2010-2012) and Group 2 (2015-2017) after the introduction of the programme.
RESULTS: There was a significant increase in number of cataract cases in the district hospital after the cluster initiative. The mean age of patients undergoing cataract surgery was similar in both groups. The common comorbidities were hypertension (Group 1=57.3%; Group 2=70.8%) and diabetes mellitus (Group 1=40.6%; Group 2=51.1%). In 2010-2012, most of the patients were one eye blind (34.4%), whereas in 2015-2017 majority of patients presented with vision better than 6/18 (43.5%). The proportion of patients with cataract blindness reduced from 6% in 2010-2012 to 4.3% in 2015-2017 (p<0.01).
CONCLUSION: There is a significant decrease in percentage of patients with cataract blindness and low vision after the introduction of Kuala Pilah Cluster Hospital Program. We believe that that cluster hospital system is effective in improving accessibility to eye care and therefore increases the cataract detection rate.