Aim: It has been observed that potential beneficiaries rarely request for alternatives to corrective eyeglasses in our setting. The objective of this study was to determine awareness and attitude towards alternatives to spectacle correction, specifically; contact lens and refractive eye surgery among spectacle wearers in a resource-limited setting.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 214 spectacle wearers in seven Nigerian hospitals using semi-structured questionnaire. Information sought included demographic characteristics, awareness, and attitudes to contact lens and refractive eye surgery as well as reasons for the poor interest in alternatives to eyeglasses.
Results: There were 93 males and 121 females, with a mean age of 40.2 years (SD 15.8.). Most, 198 (92.6%) had at least secondary education. Ninety-eight (45.8%) and 113 (52.8%) patients were aware of the options of contact lens and refractive eye surgery respectively, but 171 (80%) were averse to wearing contact lenses or having refractive eye surgery. Reasons given included lack of information, high cost, and possible complications that may arise. Higher education was significantly associated with participants’ awareness of alternatives to eyeglasses (contact lens [P = 0.016], refractive eye surgery [P=0.009]) but not with willingness to use contact lens (P = 0.96) or refractive eye surgery (P = 0.425).
Conclusion: There was relatively high awareness but low willingness to use alternatives to corrective eyeglasses among users. Education on alternatives to corrective eyeglasses, allaying fears on their complications, and making them more affordable could enhance awareness and create a more positive attitude towards them.