Magnitude of visual impairment and associated factors among patients attending ophthalmic clinics of Debre Markos referral hospital, north West Ethiopia.

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Globally, visual impairment affects about 285 million (4.25%) people, of those, 266.4 million were adults aged 18 years and above. Ethiopia is one of developing countries estimated to have high prevalence of visual impairment which have an enormous socio-economic impact. Also there is limited available information regarding with the magnitude of visual impairment among adults in our country at large and east Gojjam zone in specific. Therefore the aim of this study was to assess the magnitude of visual impairment and its associated factors among patients attending Debre Markos Referral Hospital ophthalmic clinics in east Gojjam zone, North West Ethiopia.An institutional-based cross-sectional study was conducted at Debre Markos Referral Hospital which is the only hospital in east gojjam zone with ophthalmic care service from March 1 to 30, 2020 by using systematic random sampling technique to select study participants after informed consent was obtained. Data were collected by interview with 5% pretested, structured questionnaire and ocular examinations. Data were cleaned, coded and entered to Epi-data version-3.1, and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science software version 26. The descriptive statistics was presented in tables, text and graphs. Bivariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify factors associated with visual impairment was conducted. Covariates with P-value  50 years [AOR = 3.82; 95% CI (1.56, 9.35)], rural residency [AOR = 4.33 95% CI (1.30, 14.44)], inability to read and write [AOR = 3.21; 95% CI (1.18, 8.73)] and Cataract [AOR = 4.48; 95% CI (1.91, 10.52)] were factors significantly associated with visual impairment.The overall magnitude of visual impairment was found to be high. Older age, rural residency, inability to read and write and cataract were associated with visual impairment. Increasing literacy, expanded cataract surgery, as well as community based visual acuity screening especially for elders and rural residents is crucial. Zonal police makers should give emphasis on prevention of visual impairment to decrease economic, social and political burden of visual disability.

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Authors: Haimanot Abebe, Fasil Wagnew, Haymanot Zeleke, Bitew Tefera, Shegaw Tesfa, Tamene Fetene