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Aim: This study is aimed at evaluating the eye care cadre utilisation and knowledge about the cadre of eye care professionals among undergraduate students of the University of Calabar, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study among Eighty- seven undergraduate university students. After obtaining ethical clearance and informed consent, data was obtained using a self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire elucidating demographics with items on different cadre and utilisation of eye care professionals. Ocular examination including visual acuity, anterior and posterior segment examinations was also carried out. Data were analysed using SPSS for IBM (version 20.0 SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA) for presentation as frequencies and tables.
Results: Of the Eighty-seven respondents, 87.4% were females with mean age of all respondents being 21.5±4.0. About sixty-three percent (63.2%) of respondents had never had their eyes checked, 52.9% of them were unaware of the various cadres of eye care professionals, 52.9% felt an optometrist was a medical doctor while 60% knew that an ophthalmologist was a medical doctor. Thirty-four and a half percent (34.5%) had received a previous eye check of which 10.3% was at a teaching hospital.
Conclusion: The knowledge and awareness about a cadre of eye care professionals among university students was fair. The services of ophthalmologists and optometrists were most sought after compared to other eye care providers. There is some confusion about the status of the optometrist, and this may make the populace place more demand on them in areas of care outside their domain. The university students, as well as the public, therefore, need to be educated on eye care services and the cadre of eye care professionals to help them seek appropriate eye care service based on the expertise of the eye care worker.