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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905
EISSN: 1680-6905
Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002, pp. 69-72
Bioline Code: hs02042
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Health Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002, pp. 69-72

 en A Survey of the Prevalence of Refractive Errors Among Children in Lower Primary Schools in Kampala District
Kawuma, Medi & Mayeku, Robert


Background: Refractive errors are a known cause of visual impairment and may cause blindness worldwide. In children, refractive errors may prevent those afflicted from progressing with their studies. In Uganda, like in many developing countries, there is no established vision-screening programme for children on commencement of school, such that those with early onset of such errors will have many years of poor vision. Over all, there is limited information on refractive errors among children in Africa.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of refractive errors among school children attending lower primary in Kampala district; the frequency of the various types of refractive errors, and their relationship to sexuality and ethnicity.
Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Kampala district., Uganda
Patients: A total of 623 children aged between 6 and 9 years had a visual acuity testing done at school using the same protocol; of these 301 (48.3%) were boys and 322 (51.7%) girls.
Results: Seventy-three children had a significant refractive error of -0.50 or worse in one or both eyes, giving a prevalence of 11.6% and the commonest single refractive error was astigmatism which accounted for 52% of all errors. This was followed by hypermetropia, and myopia was the least common.
Conclusion: Significant refractive errors occur among primary school children aged 6 to 9 years at a prevalence of approximately 12%. Therefore, there is a need to have regular and simple vision testing in primary school children at least at the commencement of school so as to defect those who may suffer from these disabilities.

© Copyright 2002 Makerere Medical School, Uganda

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