Vision screening in primary school children in Kegbara-Dere, a rural community in Rivers State, Nigeria

  • G Nathaniel
  • CN Pedro-Egbe


Background: Visual impairment causes significant ocular morbidity in children and has been known to affect their performance at school. Majority of children with impaired vision livein developing countries, where there is a dearth of eye care facilities.
Aim: To determine the proportion of school children with ocular disorders in a rural community in Rivers State.
Methods: A cross sectional study on vision screening among primary school children was carried out in Kegbara-Dere community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State between16thand 31st May 2011. A multistage sampling technique was used to recruit pupils between the ages of 5 and 15 years in 5 public primary schools. A total of 271 pupils consisting of 150 (55.4%) females and 121(44.6%) males were screened. Statistical package for social science (SPSS 16) was used to analyse the data.
Results: Twenty-eightof the 271 pupils had ocular disorders giving a prevalence of 10.3%. Ten (35.7%) of the pupils with ocular disorders were in the 8-10 year age range. Of the 28 pupils with ocular disorders, 57.1%were males and42.9% were females. The commonest ocular disorders were refractive error (n=10; 35.7%) and vernal conjunctivitis (n=5;17.9%).The prevalence of reduced vision was 2.6%. Refractive error was also the leading cause of reduced vision with a prevalence of 3.7%. No pupil was blind (VA<3/60) in the better eye.
Conclusion: The findings in this study among school children in Kegbara-Dere show that most of the causes of visual impairment are either preventable or treatable to a large extent. This study also highlights the need for the introduction of Eye Health Education in schools and routine vision screening during school entry so that those with vision disorders can be picked up early and treated accordingly.

Keywords: Primary school, Vision screening, Ocular disorders

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eISSN: 0795-3038