Prevalence of Refractive Errors Among Primary School Children in A Tropical Area, Southeastern Iran
Monireh Mahjoob, Samira Heydarian, Jalil Nejati, Alireza Ansari-Moghaddam, Nahid Ravandeh
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and patterns of refractive errors among primary school children in the age group of 7-12 years in Zahedan District, Southeastern Iran, as a tropical area.
Refractive errors affect a large proportion of world’s population, regardless of sex, age and ethnic group. We can easily diagnose, measure and correct these refractive errors with spectacles or other refractive corrections to achieve normal vision. If, however, refractive errors are not corrected or the correction be inappropriate, they may become a major cause of visual impairment and even blindness.
The estimate of visual disability due to uncorrected refractive errors is a public health concern.
It is reported that more than 12 million children in the age group 5–15 years are visually impaired due to uncorrected or inadequately corrected refractive errors.
Refractive errors can impose a heavy financial burden on the society. School children are considered a high risk group because uncorrected refractive errors can negatively affect their learning abilities and their mental and physical health.
To address the issue of visual impairment in children, the World Health Organization recently launched a global initiative, VISION 2020-The Right to Sight. Their strategy for the elimination of avoidable visual disability and blindness includes the correction of refractive errors. So, in order to provide an early detection and initiate early treatment, a professional based screening program for all school-aged children is recommended.
In recent years, a number of surveys have been done among students and elderly subjects in Iran. These studies suggest that the prevalence of hyperopia in Iran is high, so further studies in different parts of the country should be done to determine the role of factors such as race, genetics and even environment.