Background and objective: The data from a national survey of blindness and common eye diseases in Oman in 1996 were reviewed. The objective was to compare the calculation of cataract surgery services coverage on a per eye and per person basis. The advantages and limitations of both methods of program management are evaluated.
Methods and materials: The information on cataract status, visual status and past history/evidence of cataract surgery was collected for 11,415 Omani subjects. The coverage of existing cataract services was calculated per eye and per person. The rates by gender, age groups, regional groups and type of cataract were also compared.
Results: The cataract surgery services could address more than 60% of the reported persons with blinding cataract (vision less than 3/60) and more than half of the eyes with blinding cataract. The services could cover more than one-fourth of the persons with cataract (with any grade of vision defect) and less than one-fourth of the eyes with cataract. If the coverage of cataract services for blinding cataract is calculated using persons as the denominator, it is nearly 10% higher than that calculated using eyes as the denominator.
Conclusions: The two methods of calculating the coverage of cataract services give different results and both are useful for monitoring ophthalmic services. A national program should implement a system for reporting the visual and cataract status of the fellow eye so that coverage rates could be calculated by person and by eye and the impact of the cataract services in relation to time, place, gender and resources could be reviewed.