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Screening for Ocular Disease Among Homeless Individuals in Mainz

1Kramann C., 2Pitz S., 2Trabert G., 2Pfeiffer N.,
1Augenklinik und Poliklinik, Universitätsklinik Mainz (Mainz)
2Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Universitäts-Augenklinik (Mainz)

Background: Ocular diseases among the homeless in Europe have not been studied so far. Information about the visual health is important, as it is needed to provide effective care.
Patients and methods: Opthalmic disorders were analyzed among 68 homeless individuals (age 18-73) in Mainz. The screening examination consisted of a personal interview about ophthalmic and general medical histories, visual acuity, if needed refractive correction, slit lamp examination, funduscopy in miosis and tonometry.
Results: The main causes for visual impairment were uncorrected refractive errors (n=18) and optic nerve atrophies (n=7). One patient suffered from bilateral optic nerve atrophy because of an untreated lues infection. One case of severe diabetic maculopathy was seen.
Conclusions: Screening and correction/treatment of refractive errors and ophthalmic disorders among homeless is important as it can improve quality of life. The prevalence of the optic nerve atrophies in our study is rather high. In case of the luetic optic nerve atrophy, an earlier diagnosis and treatment could have prevented bilateral blindness.

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