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Barriers to accessing eye care among the elderly in Pakistan: A mixed methods study
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  • Manal Malik,
  • Strang N,
  • Aiman Hafeez,
  • Mujtaba Shabbir,
  • Farah Iftikhar,
  • Jonuscheit S
Manal Malik
Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health and Life Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Strang N
Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health and Life Sciences
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Aiman Hafeez
City University of London School of Health & Psychological Sciences
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Mujtaba Shabbir
University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School
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Farah Iftikhar
Department of Optometry, Trauma Centre, Tehsil Head Quarter Kalarkahar, Chakwal, Pakistan
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Jonuscheit S
Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health and Life Sciences
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Purpose: The provision of accessible eye care services can help reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness within a population by providing timely high-quality interventions to those in need. Our aim was to identify and quantify barriers to accessing eye care for the elderly population in Pakistan, which prevent effective eye care delivery to this group. Patients’ experiences with the Sehat Sahulat (health insurance) programme (SSP) in relation to eye care were also explored. Methods: Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods design, an initial qualitative phase explored participant experiences and identified specific barriers. The qualitative study provided the basis for the development of a customised survey tool. The survey tool was used in a second phase to obtain quantitative data of barriers and costs associated with accessing eye care. Results: Numerous considerable barriers were identified, including illiteracy, long travel times, female gender, old age, mobility issues, and costs, all of which limited access to eye care in Pakistan. Awareness surrounding the use of the SSP was poor, with the programme seldom used for eye care costs. Conclusions: This study provides valuable evidence on patient experience with eye care services in urban and rural areas of Pakistan, including expenditure, patient priorities, and enablers and barriers to accessing eye care. Areas for improvement should focus on educating the public on eye health, increasing the availability of secondary eye care services in rural areas, improving accessibility within eye care facilities, addressing gender disparities, and reducing costs associated with eye care treatments, potentially through advancement of the SSP.
26 Aug 2023Submitted to International Journal of Health Planning and Management
26 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
26 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
26 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned