Reader Case Study – Stella Onyegbule

Optometry is a six-year programme in Nigeria and I am in my final year now. I often use the library at my Federal University in Imo State, which is where I discovered the Community Eye Health Journal.

The first time I saw the journal I thought it was quite interesting and not like the regular journals of eyecare. They give a good idea of life elsewhere in Western countries but the CEHJ was the only one that included practice in rural areas, and I found that quite inspiring. Reading the journal, I was seeing places like Kenya and Nigeria, places I didn’t think would be represented. I have become a huge fan of the journal and try to read every issue. As well as reading the journal in the library I also use the journal app and download the latest edition when it comes out to read on my phone.

The journal is so important for learning on my course. Last semester we did a course called Community Eye Health. One of the lecturers on the course actually uses the journal as the material! He photocopies the journal articles and gives it to us as learning materials.

Recently when I did an internship in the eye section of a hospital, the ophthalmic nurse receives the journal. I said “I know that journal!”. I would often wait for him to finish reading his copy and then borrow it when I couldn’t access my school’s copy.

I’ve found the recent articles on myopia really useful. I was able to read about all the cheap and affordable ways we can manage myopia. In Nigeria in rural places many people are suffering from myopia but there are not enough eyecare facilities. It made me see things in a different light to what we learn in the classroom and how people can improvise and still manage myopia. The articles about glaucoma and diabetes have also been very useful. Where I’m from in the South East of Nigeria the prevalence of glaucoma is higher than in the North. I wanted to learn more about why some tribes are more likely to have glaucoma than others.

The journal has also taught me about new equipment, such as the Arclight. I never knew that there could be an ophthalmoscope that’s so flexible and that you can use in any location where there’s no electricity. From learning about that in the journal I reached out to the supplier in Nigeria to obtain one.

I feel like everyone who is in healthcare, not just eye care, should subscribe to the journal. Through the journal people can understand the wider picture of their practice, not just learning about diseases but thinking about the people they are treating and the circumstances they are working in.