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A study on the prevalence of refractive errors among school childern of 7-15 years age group in the field practice areas of a medical college in bangalore

Pavithra MB, Maheshwaran R, Rani Sujatha MA.

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Background: Refractive Error is an avoidable cause of visual impairment. Diagnosis and Treatment of refractive errors is the simplest and most effective forms of eye care.

Aims & Objective: To study the prevalence and determinants of uncorrected refractive errors, among school children of 7-15 years.

Material and Methods: The study was a cross sectional study of 1378 government school children of 7- 15 years age group in both rural and urban field practice areas of Dr. BR Ambedkar Medical College, Bangalore. Students were screened for defective vision with the help of Snellenís chart and refractionist confirmed the findings. Students with refractive error were provided with spectacles free of cost. Data was analysed to determine the prevalence of refractive errors among the school children.

Results: 687 children of urban and 691 children of rural area were examined. 53.6% of the study population were boys and 46.4% were girls. The mean age of the study group was 12.4 years. The prevalence of uncorrected refractive error in urban and rural children was 7.03%. The prevalence of Myopia, Hypermetropia and Astigmatism in children was 4.4%, 1.03%, 1.6% respectively. Children 13 to years 15 attending urban schools were most likely to have uncorrected myopia. Hypermetropia was associated with younger age group and female children.

Conclusion: The prevalence of uncorrected refractive error, especially myopia, was higher in older children. Causes of higher prevalence and barriers to refractive error correction services should be identified and addressed. Eye screening of school children is recommended.

Key words: Refractive Error; Prevalence; Hypermetropia; Myopia; School Children

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