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Prevalence of Uncorrected Refractive Errors among Adolescents at King Abdul-Aziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Author(s): Mohammed A AI Rowaily

Journal: Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology
ISSN 2155-9570

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2010;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Background: Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in children and uncorrected refractive errors are an important cause of visual impairment in many countries. The present study was conducted to identify the prevalence and pattern of refractive errors among intermediate school entrants (12-13 years) at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Methods: The study population consisted of all the intermediate school entrants (n=1,536) who attended the mandatory health examination for intermediate-school entry between February 2009 and October 2009. Every student was subjected to a 10-minute vision and auto-refractive test performed by a qualified optometrist. Students with visual acuity of 20/28 (6/9) or worse in one or both eyes, an eye disorder (such as strabismus, nystagmus, ptosis) or abnormal ocular movement were referred for a 45-minute complete ophthalmic examination that consisted of the following: 1) distance visual acuity (V/A), 2) cover – uncover test and 3) non-cycloplegic retinoscopy. The refractive error cut-off point was defined according to the spherical equivalent refractive error (SERE). Results: Of the 1,536 students, 209 were diagnosed with one or more refractive errors, with an overall prevalence of 9.8% (8.3% in boys and 11.7% in girls, with a significant gender difference) (P=0.033). The prevalence of different refractive errors was as follows: myopia, 4.5% (95% CI, 3.5-.5.5%); hyperopia, 1.5% (95% CI, 0.9-2.1%); astigmatism, 6.5% (95% CI, 5.3-7.7%); and amblyopia, 0.65% (95% CI, 0.25-1.05%). Conclusion: Our results highlight the need for school–based programs that provide prescription of glasses to students when needed at no cost through government and non-governmental collaborative funds. However, there is a need for further studies to evaluate the cultural beliefs and practice surrounding the use of spectacles in Saudi communities.
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