INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate the demographic and clinical characteristics of Syrian immigrants visiting an ophthalmology clinic, and to evaluate the causes of severe vision loss and blindness in this population.
METHODS: The data of 1,498 Syrian patients who presented to our clinic with eye complaints between January 2013 and January 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. The cases were divided into three groups based on age: under 18, 1865, and over 65 years old. Their diagnoses, severe vision loss incidences, and causes of blindness were investigated.
RESULTS: The mean age was 36.15 ± 23 (091) years old, with 385 (25.7%) of the patients under the age of 18, 780 (52.1%) between the ages of 18 and 65, and 333 (22.2%) over 65 years old. In all three groups, the most common reasons for admission were treatable conditions, such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and dry eye. The most important cause of severe vision loss under the age of 18 was a refractive error, while the most important cause of blindness was a congenital cataract. Cataracts were the most important causes of severe vision loss in the 1865 and over 65 years old age groups, while the most important causes of blindness were traumas and cataracts.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: By providing immigrants with fast, easy, and free access to health care services, the severe vision loss and blindness rates can be minimized.