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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Refractive Error and Visual Impairment in African Children in South Africa

AUTHOR:

Naidoo, K.S., Raghunandan, A., Mashige, K.P., Govender, P., Holden, B.A., Pokharel, G.P. and Ellwein, L.B.

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2003

PUBLICATION:

Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment in school-aged African children in South Africa.

  • A sample of children aged 5 to 15 years selected to participate in the study based on random selection of geographically defined in Durban.

  • A total of 5599 children living in 2712 households were selected and 4890 (87.3%) were examined.

  • The prevalence of uncorrected, presenting, and best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or worse in the better eye was 1.4%, 1.2%, and 0.32%, respectively.

  • Refractive error was the cause in 63.6% of the 191 eyes with reduced vision, amblyopia in 7.3%, retinal disorders in 9.9%, corneal opacity in 3.7%.

  • Exterior and anterior segment abnormalities were recognised in 528 (10.8%) children.

  • Myopia (at least −0.50 D) in one or both eyes was present in 2.9% of children when measured with retinoscopy and in 4.0% measured with autorefraction.

  • The prevalence of reduced vision is low in school-age African children, most of it because of uncorrected refractive error.

This article was identified as a reference for a VII-commissioned systematic review on the Impact of URE on Children.