Orthoptic Work in Cameroon

Marleen Veldt, Caroline Schuijt,
A Journey to: Cameroon by Marleen Veldt, Caroline Schuijt,

For our orthoptic placement and research we traveled to Cameroon, a country in West -Africa. We performed vision screening at primary schools in Foumban (Centre Claire-Vision), Bafang (Hopital Ad Lucem de Banka-Bafang), Foumban (E.E.C. Hopital Protestant de Foumbam, Njissé), Bafoussam (Presbyterian Eye Services, Health Centre Acha-Annex Bafoussam). The research started September 1st, 2009 and was finished November 31, 2009.

At the different primary schools we screened children of 4 years and older. Visual acuity was tested using the E-chart, and children with a decreased visual acuity were further examined in a hospital. During our placement we have screened about 2000 children.
We extensively examined children of 4 years if there was a visual acuity less than 0.5 in one eye or if there was a difference of more than 2 lines between the eyes. In children of 5 years and older we did extensive tests if there was a visual acuity of 0.8 or less in one eye, or if there was a difference of 2 or more lines between the eyes.
Extensive orthoptic evaluation was performed in 77 children. The evaluation included standard orthoptic care by means of: 15^ prism test, Lang II, the cover/uncover test on 30 cm and 6 m, ocular motility and visual acuity measurement (linear, angular, pin hole) .We also measured cycloplegic refraction by means of retinoscopia. The retina was checked by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. As a result, we prescribed glasses, and children were treated with occlusion therapy.

We would recommend a placement abroad to every student, because it is a great opportunity to see how people work in other parts of the world, and to learn a lot by taking initiative and work in a different environment. We really enjoyed our placement. It was fascinating to work with the ophthalmologists and optometrists in Cameroon, and it was great to help the patients there.

Marleen Veldt, Caroline Schuijt,
Orthoptic students at University of Applied Siences, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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