Category: Tropical papers

Results of MSICS Cataract Surgical Camps – A Case of Tansania

Interesting paper on results of eye surgical camp in Tansania. The results of 42 surgeries show that only 14% of patients at the postoperative day 5-9 have gotten a visual acuity > 0,3. That is unusually low in comparison to our experience in Zambia and to the results published elsewhere in the literature. The case may be due to, as indeed stated in the paper, the highly complicated cases (i.e., also poor selection of cases), and occasionally the quality of the technique and instruments used.

Sumbawanga Augencamp follow-up Studie 2019


A total of 42 postoperative patients from the eye camp could be examined within 5–9 days after cataract sugery. The following parameters were found: median postoperative visual acuity 0.26, spherical equivalent −2.82 dpt, astigmatism −2.2 dpt, axis 113°. Visual acuity >0.3 in 14.2% (WHO 80%), vision 0.1–0.3 in 62% (WHO 15%), vision <0.1 in 23.8% (WHO 5%). Prolonged healing time and intraocular irritation in 29% of the cases.


Although the vision improved, the results are sobering when taken in the context of the WHO guidelines. The postoperative refraction showed a myopic shift and an high level of astigmatism. The reasons are manifold: ocular comorbidities, limited diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities in a nonclinical setting. Other factors are the kind of training of the staff in the camp, the difficult circumstances and advanced findings. Consideration of the results of this study is imperative to be able to measure the quality of the work and to create the potential to make future improvements.

Corneal Ulcers: a Neglected Tropical Disease!

So far we have had only trachoma, onchocerciasis and leprosy that were named “neglected tropical diseases” and related to ophthalmology. However, in July 2019 the WHO had suggested also infectious corneal ulcers to be named “neglected”. Why is that important? Because of the measures, that could be universally introduced to fight the disease (see “SAFE” strategy for trachoma, ivermectin distribution for onchocerciasis etc.). Looking also at the cases presented here in the Gallery one may guess that corneal ulcers are frequent in Tropics. And that is definitely true.

Infectious corneal ulceration: a proposal for neglected tropical disease status

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2019;97:854-856. doi:

In ophthalmology, the designation of trachoma, onchocerciasis and leprosy as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has sustained efforts to combat these blinding conditions worldwide. Over the past 50 years, NTD designations have enabled the joining of political, social and economic forces to promote research and interventions for diseases that overwhelmingly affect the 3 billion people who subsist on less than 2 United States dollars (US$) a day. The global public health landscape is still dominated by focus on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis and malaria. However, NTDs are now increasingly recognized as important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-income settings, perpetuating stigma and social isolation, with many NTDs leading to disfiguring complications. In international public health diplomacy, formal disease recognition is essential. The pursuit of this recognition drives proposals from World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Member States to include additional diseases in the list of NTDs. The intention is to strengthen the development of partnerships, epidemiological frameworks and commitment of resources to achieve the aims set by the sustainable development goals.

5-FU for trabeculectomy?

Interesting RCT from Singapore (2013) showing that in 8 years after trabeculectomy 5-FU was no better than placebo in terms of final success rate. Which was by the way 40-55%. A food for thought. 5-FU is cheaper as MMC and is more rapidly available in some places of the world.

Systemic Steroids by Orbital Cellulitis?!

Authors from the US published in 2015 the results of interventional prospective comparative study, showing the benefit of oral steroids in children with orbital cellulitis, whose CRP was lower than 4 mg/ml. Those kids recovered faster! Important findings, as the condition is common in developing countries and dangerous.

C-Reactive Protein As a Marker for Initiating Steroid Treatment in Children With Orbital Cellulitis

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg
. Sep-Oct 2015;31(5):364-8.
doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000349.


Purpose: To determine both the benefit of systemic steroids in pediatric patients with orbital cellulitis and to assess the usefulness of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels as a marker for starting steroids.

Methods: Prospective, comparative interventional study. Pediatric patients aged 1 to 18 years admitted to a tertiary care children’s hospital with a diagnosis of orbital cellulitis from October 2012 to March 2014 were included in the study. All patients were treated with intravenous antibiotics, and patients with subperiosteal abscess who met previously published criteria for surgical decompression underwent combined transorbital drainage and/or endoscopic sinus surgery. CRP was measured daily as a biomarker of inflammation, and when below 4 mg/dl, patients were started on oral prednisone 1 mg/kg per day for 7 days. Patients whose families did not consent to steroid treatment served as the control group. Patients were followed after discharge until symptoms resolved and all medications were discontinued.

Results: Thirty-one children were diagnosed with orbital cellulitis during the study period. Of these 31 children, 24 received oral steroids (77%) and 7 did not (23%). There were 19 males and 5 females in the steroid group with an average age of 8.1 years, and 6 males and 1 female in the nonsteroid group with an average age of 7.1 years (p = 0.618). Thirteen patients (54%) in the steroid group and 2 patients (29%) in the nonsteroid group underwent sinus surgery with or without orbitotomy (p = 0.394). The average CRP at the onset of steroid treatment was 2.8 mg/dl (range: 0.5-4). Patients who received oral steroids were admitted for an average of 3.96 days. In comparison, patients who did not receive steroids were admitted for an average of 7.17 days (p < 0.05). Once CRP was ≤4 mg/dl, patients treated with steroids remained in the hospital for another 1.1 days, while patients who did not receive steroids remained hospitalized for another 4.9 days (p < 0.01). In the steroid group, 2 families reported increased hyperactivity in their children while on steroids. There was 1 case in each group of recurrence of symptoms after discharge from the hospital. Average follow-up time was 2.4 months in the steroid group and 2 months in the nonsteroid group (p = 0.996). At last visit, all patients returned to their baseline ophthalmic examination. There were no cases of vision loss or permanent ocular disability in either group.

Conclusions: Our results give further evidence of the safety and benefit of systemic steroids in children with orbital cellulitis. Futhermore, this is the first study to suggest a standardized starting point (CRP ≤ 4 mg/dl) and dosing schedule (oral prednisone 1 mg/kg for 7 days) for children with orbital cellulitis. Patients who received systemic steroids after CRP dropped below 4 mg/dl were discharged from the hospital earlier than patients who did not receive systemic steroids.