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DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION OF A MODEL FOR REMOTE DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF OPHTHALMOHELIOSES IN THE CITY OF BARCELOS, AMAZONAS: IMPACT ON VISUAL ACUITY AND VISION-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE

Abstract

Ophthalmohelioses are ocular conditions caused by the deleterious effects of excessive sunlight exposure and consequently to ultraviolet radiation (UV). The most common eye diseases are pterygium and cataracts besides being a risk factor for near vision impairment (presbyopia). These conditions have increased prevalence in regions near the equator line, such as the cities in the Brazilian Amazon. In a recent epidemiological study performed by our research group in the city of Parintins, Amazonas state, the prevalence of pterygium in either eye was 59%, and pterygium was the third cause of blindness, after cataract and glaucoma. The objective of this study is to develop and validate a model based on remote structure of equipment and personnel to the diagnosis and management of the ophthalmohelioses (pterygium, cataract, and near vision impairment optically correctable) in inhabitants of a region with high exposure to UV radiation, the city of Barcelos, located in the Brazilian Amazon Region. The study will be performed on a sample of adults 18 years of age and older. A local team of health professionals will be trained to detect pterygium and cataracts by the acquisition of digital photographic images obtained with smartphones, transferred to a remote reading center, and assessed by an ophthalmologist. Participants with surgical indications for removal of pterygium or cataracts will be recruited. Questionnaires on the severity of symptoms (in pterygium) and vision-related quality of life (cataract) will be administered before and after surgery. Glasses will be provided for those with near vision impairment and their vision-related quality of life will also be assessed before and after glasses provision. The results of this study will allow the validation of a model of diagnosis and treatment for ophthalmohelioses in a region with limited access to eye care services, nevertheless contributing to a better understanding of the impact of actions like surgical treatment for cataract and pterygium and provision of glasses in the quality of life of these patients. (AU)

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