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Open Access Study protocol

inVestIgating the pSychologIcal and ecONomic impAct of cataRact surgerY in Vietnam: The VISIONARY observational study protocol

Beverley M Essue1*, Maree L Hackett1, Andreas Mueller2, Nguyen Thi Hanh Duc3, Huynh Tan Phuc3 and Stephen Jan1

Author Affiliations

1 The George Institute for Global Health; University of Sydney, PO Box M201 Missenden Road, Sydney NSW 2050, Australia

2 The Fred Hollows Foundation, Level 2 61 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018, Australia

3 The Fred Hollows Foundation (Vietnam), 07 Ton That Dam Street Thanh Khe District, Da Nang City, Vietnam

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BMC Ophthalmology 2011, 11:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-11-25

Published: 12 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Visual impairment caused by cataracts not only affects an individual's quality of life but can also have a profound impact on other important psychological factors and on the economic circumstances of individuals and their households. Cataract surgery is an effective intervention to restore vision and is also associated with other positive consequences including improvements in quality of life, economic and psychological outcomes. While there has been an increase in the number and quality of cataract surgeries performed in Vietnam, the programs currently in place are still unable to meet the existing demand and need for surgery. Data on both the cost-effectiveness of cataract surgery and the economic and psychological impact of untreated cataract in this setting is lacking.

Methods/Design

This study, investigating the psychological and economic impact of cataract surgery in Vietnam (VISIONARY), will recruit and interview a sample of adults (18 years or over) who are referred for cataract surgery by one of the following sites and their outreach programs: Hue Eye Hospital; Thai Binh Eye Hospital; Binh Dinh Department of Health Eye Hospital and the Vinh Long Department of Health Social Disease Centre. All participants (those who have cataract surgery and those who do not have surgery) will be followed up at six and 12 months.

Discussion

This study is designed to examine the impact of low vision on household economic circumstances and psychological outcomes as well as to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cataract surgery in Vietnam. It will help to inform international and national non-government organisations working in the country and local policy-makers on priorities for further investment in eye-health services in this setting and their relevance to broader economic development goals.