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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 372-376

Prevalence of refractive errors among school children in Gondar town, northwest Ethiopia

1 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
3 Department of Optometry, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
4 ORBIS International, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Correspondence Address:
Wasie Taye Belaynew
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Gondar, Gondar
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Source of Support: ORBIS International, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.102742

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Purpose: Many children with poor vision due to refractive error remain undiagnosed and perform poorly in school. The situation is worse in the Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, and current information is lacking. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of refractive error among children enrolled in elementary schools in Gondar town, Ethiopia. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 1852 students in 8 elementary schools. Subjects were selected by multistage random sampling. The study parameters were visual acuity (VA) evaluation and ocular examination. VA was measured by staff optometrists with the Snellen E-chart while students with subnormal vision were examined using pinhole, retinoscopy evaluation and subjective refraction by ophthalmologists. Results: The study cohort was comprised of 45.8% males and 54.2% females from 8 randomly selected elementary schools with a response rate of 93%. Refractive errors in either eye were present in 174 (9.4%) children. Of these, myopia was diagnosed in 55 (31.6%) children in the right and left eyes followed by hyperopia in 46 (26.4%) and 39 (22.4%) in the right and left eyes respectively. Low myopia was the most common refractive error in 61 (49.2%) and 68 (50%) children for the right and left eyes respectively. Conclusions: Refractive error among children is a common problem in Gondar town and needs to be assessed at every health evaluation of school children for timely treatment.

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