Purpose: Eyelid repair surgery can prevent the effects of trichiasis leading to visual loss. Cost, transportation difficulties, and familial responsibilities have been identified as major barriers to surgical compliance. We evaluated whether offering trichiasis surgery in the village was effective in increasing the rate of surgical acceptance and in decreasing perceived barriers to surgery. Methods: In 1989, 205 women with trichiasis were identified in Central Tanzania and were offered free surgery along with free transport. As of 1991, only 18% of these women had undergone the surgery. We followed-up these women 7 years later after village level surgery was introduced. Results: Since 1991, an additional 12% of the women had undergone eyelid surgery. 44% were conducted in the village. Surgical cases since 1991 reported shorter travel times to the place of surgery, similar post-surgical problems, and fewer days in the hospital. While providing benefits to the patient, increased village eye services did not increase the rate of surgical acceptance. The women who declined surgery did not know surgery in the village was available and the perceived cost and transportation difficulties continued to be barriers. 50% of the non- acceptors stated that there was nothing that would enable them to accept surgical intervention despite the fact that 3/4 of them reported eye symptoms that interfered with their daily activities. Conclusions: The cost efficacy of village level eye services needs to be evaluated and the awareness of these services increased.
ASJC Scopus subject areas