An Exploratory Study on Eye Healthcare Seeking Behavior of the Rural Elderly in Mayurbhanj District of Odisha
*Corresponding author: Abhimanyu Singh Chauhan, Programme Associate, Indian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, JSS Software Technology Park, Infocity Road, Patia. Bhubaneswar - 751024, Odisha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mobile: +91-9937355646
Despite national blindness prevalence of 1.4%, the burden in Odisha state is not known. Ophthalmic care seeking behavior among rural elderly is a non-priority. Health belief model is a recognized framework for studies on human behavior. A qualitative study was undertaken to have an in-depth understanding of current eye health seeking behavior of rural elderly (? 50 years) people in Mayurbhanj district, Odisha. Male and female respondents from the sample area were included in the study. Semi-structured questionnaires, In-Depth Interviews (IDI), Focused Group Discussions (FGD) were used for data collection. Elderly people in Mayurbhanj district perceived that they were susceptible to eye problems and felt that eye ailments could occur to any person, anytime. They considered eye problem as "serious", which could hamper the family income, but had difficulties in accessing eye care facility and approaching eye doctor. Majority of respondents had fair knowledge on the benefit of treating eye problems early. Lack of timely information about availability of eye care services in their local areas was a programmatic gap. Distance, non-availability of any accompanying person, lack of monetary support, lack of information and fear of losing eye sight after surgery were found to be the main barriers behind delayed eye-care seeking behavior. Timely filling of vacancy of ophthalmic assistants at PHC level and effective participation of community through mobilization of link workers, such as ASHAs, would strengthen the national blindness control programme and improve rural healthcare system.
Accessibility, Eye-care Seeking Behavior, Elderly, Perception, Quality of Care.