Refractive Error of Students (15- to 18-year-olds) in Northwest Mexico
Emiliano Teran, PhD, Rosalía Ramírez-Jaime, LO, Carlos Martínez-Gaytán, LO, Efrain Romo-García, MD,
and Francisco M. Costela, PhD
Optometry and Vision Science
The study assessed the prevalence of refractive error in a sample of children of Northern Mexico using the Refractive Error Study in Children protocol of the World Health Organization, which allows for the comparison with other global studies.
Uncorrected refractive error is the main cause of visual impairment in children. The purpose of this study was to assess the refractive error and visual dysfunctions of students (15 to 18 years old) in the upper-middle school system of Sinaloa, Mexico.
A total of 3468 students in Sinaloa's high school system participated in the study from 2017 to 2019. Optometrists and student clinicians from the Optometry Program of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa conducted the testing. Tests included visual acuities and static retinoscopy. We did not use a cycloplegic agent.
The results showed a high prevalence of uncorrected refractive errors. Myopia, defined as a refractive error ≤−0.50 D, had a prevalence of 36.11% (95% confidence interval, 33.47 to 38.83%); hyperopia, defined as a refractive error ≥+2.00 D, had a prevalence of 1.49% (95% confidence interval, 0.09 to 2.33%); and astigmatism, defined as a refractive error with a cylinder ≥0.75 D, had a prevalence of 29.17% (95% confidence interval, 26.60 to 31.76%). We found a significant effect of sex on visual acuity.
Our results are consistent with a high prevalence of myopia reported in adolescents worldwide and in Mexico's northern regions. The results suggest that students attending high school and entering universities should be required to have an optometric eye examination. Additional studies are needed to investigate the prevalence of refractive errors in children in Mexico.