gms | German Medical Science

104th DOG Annual Meeting

21. - 24.09.2006, Berlin

Ageing and eye care challenges in Oman – Focus areas and scope for collaboration

Meeting Abstract

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  • R. Khandekar - Directorate General of Health Affairs, Ministry of Health Oman, Muscat, Oman

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e.V.. 104. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft (DOG). Berlin, 21.-24.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06dogSA.18.01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 18, 2006

© 2006 Khandekar.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




To evaluate the eye healthcare needs of an ageing population in a fast developing country of the Middle Eastern peninsula with a growing economy.


Health services are offered by government to the citizen free of cost. Improved infrastructure especially in health and education sector are the hallmark of reinvestment of the petrol money. Rise in chronic and age related diseases and sequel of communicable diseases of the past are the unavoidable problems due to epidemiological transition that Oman is facing. In view of high economic burden for the health care of elderly population, the 7th five year of health plan has added geriatric care as one of the priority health problem to address.


A national survey for blindness and low vision was conducted in 2005. Blindness was defined as vision <3/60 as presented in better eye or corresponding loss of filed of vision. The Prevalence of bilateral blindness was found to be 8.25% (95% Confidence Interval 7.14 – 9.36) in ≥40 years old Omani population. The prevalence was 20.3% (95% CI 17.5 – 20.0) among ≥60 years old population. The eye care services although is not geared specifically for the elderly people at present in Oman, ‘VISION 2020’ plan of Oman has stressed on better planning of these people. With the social situation being different among Arabs, the eye care delivery in Oman will have to adopt and not blindly follow the models of industrialized countries. This will need lateral thinking, piloting the model on small scales and collaboration with experts in this field. Tropical climate and hot and dusty environment causes degenerative and radiation related changes in eye like, dry eye, pterygium, cataract, pseudoexfoliation, corneal dystrophies and age related retinal degenerations (AMD).


Ophthalmologists in Oman are more focused on care giving to the patients of cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Training specialists to treat AMD and offering rehabilitative services for the low vision disabilities will have to be planned.