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Study to assess the psychosocial aspects of refractive errors and effectiveness of health education in correcting stigmas related to spectacle use in high-school students of rural India

Parag Dhoble, Rahul Agarwal, Chirag Patel, Gautam Anand, Jagdish Sharma, Yogesh Sabde.

Abstract
Background: Refractive error is the most common cause of blindness which can be corrected easily using simple modality like spectacles but because of ignorance, stigmas and cost related issues it is underutilized.

Aims & Objective: Study to assess the psychosocial aspects of refractive error and effectiveness of health education in correcting stigmas related to spectacle use in high-school students of rural India.

Material and Methods: This was a cross sectional study in which total of 255 high school students from a school near Bhopal were included. The responses were recorded on a pre-designed and pre-tested questionnaire. The health education was provided to all the participants and they were reassessed after one month using same questionnaire. The researcher used the STATA version 12.1 for data entry and analysis.

Results: Amongst total of 255 students, 165 were males and 90 were females. During initial phase most of the respondents believed that common reasons for low vision were nutritional deficiency (68%) and bad eye care (56%). The respondents refused to use spectacles at all if needed as spectacles are cosmetically unacceptable (62%) , fear of rejection from opposite sex (54%) and likely teasing from colleagues (36%).Following health education there were statistically significant changes in the knowledge, attitude and care seeking behaviour of spectacle use. Only two parameters i.e. cosmetic acceptance of spectacles and that traditional methods were more than spectacles did not changed significantly.

Conclusion: Prevalent stigmas regarding spectacle use among students of rural India were effectively corrected with health education.

Key words: Health Education; Psychosocial Impact; Refractive Error; Stigmas



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