With an objective to enquire about availability of primary or secondary level facilities for refraction and explore reasons for approaching a tertiary OPD despite awareness of the same, a prospective study was conducted over a two month period in the ophthalmology OPD of a medical college of Bihar among patients aged 10-24 years from Patna district diagnosed with refractive errors, using a predesigned interview schedule and subsequent statistical analysis. Of 1075 subjects, about 61% of rural young people recalled that refraction facilities (of primary or secondary level) were available in the vicinity of their residence (about 18% denied availability, and 21% were unaware) while all 961 urban young people were aware of the same. The prime reason for visit among urban patients was the need for certification from a government institution for admission to an educational institution or job. Hence, there is need to establish new and advertise existing vision centres, conduct community screening, establish government-subsidized optician services network, inculcate importance of counselling patients among all eye care professionals, define the role of a tertiary care institution in the minds of the public and support the tertiary hospital by a high-volume primary eye care facility in the neighbourhood.
Residence, Refractive errors, Refraction facilities, Screening, Tertiary OPD, Vision centres.