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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Refractive Error and Visual Impairment in School Children in Northern Ireland

AUTHOR:

L O'Donoghue, J F McClelland, N S Logan, A R Rudnicka, C G Owen, K J Saunders

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2010

PUBLICATION:

British Journal of Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The study aims at describing the prevalence of refractive error (myopia and hyperopia) and visual impairment in a representative sample of white school children.

  • This is a population-based cross-sectional study, examined 661 white 12–13-year-old and 392 white 6–7-year-old children between 2006 and 2008.

  • This study is the first to provide robust population-based data on the prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment in Northern Irish school children. Strategies to improve compliance with spectacle wear are required.

  • Levels of myopia were 2.8%  in younger and 17.7% in older children: corresponding levels of hyperopia were 26% and 14.7% .

  • The prevalence of presenting visual impairment in the better eye was 3.6% in 12–13-year-old children compared with 1.5% in 6–7-year-old children. Almost one in four children fails to bring their spectacles to school.