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Refractive Error and Visual Impairment in Private School Children in Ghana


Kumah, Ben D.; Ebri, Anne; Abdul-Kabir, Mohammed; Ahmed, Abdul-Sadik; Koomson, Nana Ya; Aikins, Samual; Aikins, Amos; Amedo, Angela; Lartey, Seth; Naidoo, Kovin


American Academy of Optometry




Optometry and Vision Science


  • The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment in private school children ages 12 to 15 years in 60 clusters in the Ashanti Region, Ghana.

  • A total of 2454 school children attending 53 private schools were randomly identified and 2435 (99.2%) examined in classrooms.

  • Prevalence of uncorrected, presenting, and best visual acuity of 20/40 or worse in the better eye was 3.7, 3.5, and 0.4%, respectively.

  • Refractive error was the cause of reduced vision in 71.7% of 152 eyes, amblyopia in 9.9%, retinal disorders in 5.9%, and corneal opacity in 4.6%. Exterior and anterior segment abnormalities occurred in 43 (1.8%) children. Myopia in one or both eyes was present in 3.2% of children when measured with retinoscopy and in 3.4% measured with autorefraction.

  • Myopia  was not significantly associated with gender. Hyperopia in at least one eye was present in 0.3% of children with retinoscopy and autorefraction.

  • The study found that prevalence of reduced vision in Ghanaian private school children due to uncorrected refractive error was low. However, the prevalence of amblyopia, retinal disorders, and corneal opacities indicate the need for early interventions.