Outcome of cataract surgery in Nigeria: visual acuity, autorefraction, and optimal intraocular lens powers - results from the Nigeria National Survey

Abdullahi U. Imam, Clare E. Gilbert, Selvaraj Sivasubramaniam, Gudlavalleti V. S. Murthy*, Raj Maini, Mansur M. Rabiu, Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment study group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe presenting and corrected visual acuities after cataract surgery in a nationally representative sample of adults. Another objective was to describe refractive errors in operated eyes and to determine the optimal range of intraocular lens (IOL) powers for this population.

Design: Cross-sectional, population-based survey.

Participants: Adults aged 40 years and more were selected using multistage stratified sampling and proportional to size procedures. A sample size of 15 027 was calculated, and clusters were selected from all states.

Methods: Individuals who had undergone cataract surgery were identified from interview and examination. All had their presenting visual acuity (VA) measured using a reduced logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution chart and underwent autorefraction. Corrected VAs were assessed using the autorefraction results in a trial set. An ophthalmologist conducted all examinations, including slit-lamp and dilated fundus examination. Causes of visual loss were determined for all eyes with a presenting VA

Main Outcome Measures: Presenting and corrected visual acuities in pseudo/aphakic individuals and autorefraction findings; biometry profile of Nigerian adults.

Results: Data from 288 eyes of 217 participants were analyzed. Only 39.5% of eyes had undergone IOL implantation at surgery. Only 29.9% of eyes had a good outcome (i.e., >= 6/18) at presentation, increasing to 55.9% with correction. Use of an IOL was the only factor associated with a good outcome at presentation (odds ratio 9.0; 95% confidence interval, 4.3-18.9; P = 0.001). Eyes undergoing cataract surgery had a higher prevalence and degree of astigmatism than phakic eyes. Biometry data reveal that posterior chamber IOL powers of 20, 21, and 22 diopters (D) (A constant 118.0) will give a postoperative refraction range of -2.0 D to emmetropia in 71.4% of eyes, which increases to 82.6% if 19 D is also included.

Conclusions: Postoperative astigmatism needs to be reduced through better surgical techniques and training, and use of biometry should be standard of care.

Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article Ophthalmology 2011;118:719-724 (C) 2011 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • district
  • surgical coverage
  • rapid assessment
  • barriers
  • avoidable blindness
  • South-West Province
  • impairment survey
  • prevalence
  • India
  • Bangladesh


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