Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology,
Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021),
24 February 2022
Background: Uncorrected refractive error is a leading cause of visual impairment globally. This study aimed to determine the current state of clinical refraction services and barriers to service provision in the capital city of the Maldives.
Methods: This cross-sectional, descriptive-analytical study used a purposive sampling technique. The list of facilities providing refraction services in the city of Malé was compiled through a desk review and finalized after verification by personnel from the Ministry of Health. The availability of human resources and infrastructure was measured using a pre-coded questionnaire that also listed barriers to service provision, followed by on-site observations and subsequent data analysis.
Results: Three clinical ophthalmology departments within hospitals, two ophthalmology hospitals, and nine primary eye care centers were selected for this study. The private sector (n = 12, 85.7%) was the primary provider of refractive error services. All facilities possessed the essential equipment required for refraction. Only optometrists and ophthalmologists conducted refraction. Contact lens assessment and low vision services were not available at any facility. The number of refractions conducted in Malé annually was 145,392. Human resources and management-related factors were the major barriers to the provision of clinical refraction services (n = 21, 44.7%).
Conclusions: Accessibility to refractive error management and low vision services is needed in Malé to meet current population needs. Existing resources, including humans and equipment, require augmentation regarding service provision and enhancement. Knowledge of these barriers could lead to the upscaling of refraction services in Malé, Maldives by health policy makers.