Original Research

Experiences of keratoconus patients attending public eye care facilities in South Africa

Pheagane M.W. Nkoana, Percy K. Mashige, Vanessa R. Moodley
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 16, No 1 | a3974 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v16i1.3974 | © 2024 Pheagane M.W. Nkoana, Percy K. Mashige, Vanessa R. Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 December 2022 | Published: 19 February 2024

About the author(s)

Pheagane M.W. Nkoana, Discipline of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Percy K. Mashige, Discipline of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vanessa R. Moodley, Discipline of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Keratoconus (KC) is a progressive condition that usually affects young persons between their first and fourth decades. Myopia and irregular astigmatism are the common presentations which are proceeded by corneal steepening and thinning. Keratoconus is a progressive ectasia of the cornea that presents bilaterally, although often asymmetrical.

Aim: To explore the experiences of KC patients attending public eye care facilities in Capricorn District of Limpopo province.

Setting: Capricorn District, Limpopo province, South Africa.

Methods: Descriptive qualitative phenomenology approach was used in the study to explore the lived experiences of patients diagnosed with KC, attending public eye care facilities. Purposive sampling was used to select 16 patients who were diagnosed with KC and referred for contact lens fitting. Data were collected through face-to-face, one-on-one interviews.

Results: Patients reported to have developed gradual vision loss which worsened when they grew older. There was lack of knowledge of KC amongst patients and this was exacerbated by limited health literacy and vocabulary barriers. Patients had difficulty performing daily activities where some had dropped out of school while others worked at a slower pace and reduced working distances.

Conclusion: Patients with KC received inadequate information on their condition due to limited health literacy and vocabulary barriers. Programmes to promote practitioner and patient education are required to improve the perceived service level provided to KC patients.

Contribution: The findings of this study will assist to improve the experiences of KC patients on perceived service quality received from public facilities.


Keywords

experiences of patients; Capricorn District of Limpopo province; patients with keratoconus; vision-quality of life; keratoconus.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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