Prevalence and pattern of refractive errors among primary school children in Al Hassa , Saudi Arabia.

Fahd Abdullah Al Wadaani, Tarek Tawfik Amin, Ayub Ali, Atuar Rahman Khan


Some 12.8 million in the age group 5–15 years are visually impaired from uncorrected or inadequately corrected refractive errors. In Saudi Arabia, the size of this public health problem is not well defined especially among primary schoolchildren. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence and pattern of refractive errors among primary school children in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia.  A total of 2246 Saudi primary school children aged 6 to 14 years of both genders were selected using multistage sampling method form 30 primary schools located in the three different areas of Al Hassa. School children were interviewed to collect demographics and vision data using a special data collection form followed by screening for refractive errors by trained optometrists within the school premises using a standardized protocol. Assessment of visual acuity and ocular motility evaluation were carried out and cover-uncover test was performed. Children detected with defective vision were referred for further examination employing subjective refraction with auto refractometer and objective refraction using streak retinoscopy after 1% cyclopentolate. Of the screened school children (N=2002), the overall prevalence of refractive errors was 13.7% (n=274), higher among females (Odds ratio, OR=1.39, P=0.012) and significantly more among students of rural residence (OR=2.40, P=0.001). The prevalence of refractive errors was disproportionately more among those aged 12-14 years (OR=9.02, P=0.001). Only 9.4% of students with poor vision were wore spectacles for correction. Myopia was the most commonly encountered refractive error among both genders (65.7% of the total errors encountered). Uncorrected refractive errors affected a sizable portion of primary school children in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. Primary schoolchildren especially females, rural and older children represents high risk group for refractive errors for which the included children were unaware.

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Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)

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