Refractive error in school children in Agona Swedru, Ghana

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Uncorrected refractive errors remains a public health problem among different population groups. Among schoolchildren, uncorrected refractive errors have a considerable impact on learning andacademic achievement especially in underserved and under-resourced communities. A school based cross-sectional study was carriedout to estimate the prevalence and distribution of refractive error among schoolchildren in the Agona Swedru municipality of Central Region of Ghana. 637 schoolchildren aged 11-18 years old were randomly selected for the study. Non-cycloplegic refraction was performed on each child who failed the reading test. Hyperopia was defined as spherical power of ≥ + 0.75 D, myopia as ≤ – 0.50 D and astigmatism as a cylindrical power of ≤ – 0.50 D. Of the children examined, only 13.3% had previously had an eye examination.Visual impairment (VA of 6/12 or worse in the better eye) was present in 4.5% of the children examined. Of those who failed the reading test, 85.9% had refractive error. The prevalence of hyperopia, myopia and astigmatism was 5.0%, 1.7% and 6.6% respectively. The study concludes that uncorrected refractive error is a common cause of visual impairment among schoolchildren in the municipality. A low uptake of eye care is also noted in the study. The study therefore recommends that the education authority in collaboration with the District Health Directorate institute appropriate measures to ensure compulsory eye examination for schoolchildren in the Agona Swedru district. (S Afr Optom 2010 69(2) 86-92)
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Vision and Eye Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2010


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