Screening for Uncorrected Refractive Error Among Primary School Children In South-South Nigeria
A study on screening for uncorrected refractive error in primary school children has not been done in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria. This study aims to screen for uncorrected refractive error among primary school children in Bayelsa State and use the data to plan for an effective school Eye Health Program. A cross sectional study on screening for uncorrected refractive error in school children was carried out in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria in June 2009. A multistage sampling technique was used to select the study population (pupils aged between 5-15 years). Visual acuity for each eye was assessed by an optometrist and a community ophthalmic nurseoutside the classroom, at a distance of 6 meters. Unaided distant visual acuity of 6/12 or less which improved with pin hole,in a child not currently using corrective glasses, was considered an uncorrected refractive error. Funduscopy was done inside a poorly lit classroom. Data was analyzed with EPI INFO version 6 and scientific calculator. A total of 1,242 school children consisting of 658 females and 584 males were examined.About 97.7% of pupils had normal vision of 6/6 while 26 eyes (1%) had visual acuity of 6/12 or less. Of the 26 eyes with visual acuityof 6/12 or less, 22improved when presented with pin-hole. A total of 12 pupils had uncorrected refractive error, giving a population prevalence of 0.97%.The 8-10 yearage-range had the highest proportion (41.7%) of cases of uncorrected refractive error. The prevalence of uncorrected refractive error in primary school children in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria was 0.97% and most eyes (97.7%) had normal vision.
Keywords: Uncorrected refractive error, Screening, School children.