Prevalence of visual impairment and estimation of refractive errors among school children in Kakamega, Kenya
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Isabel Signes-Soler. Calle Corbeta, 6, Calpe 03710, Alicante, Spain.


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    AIM: To investigate the prevalence of visual impairment (VI) and provide an estimation of uncorrected refractive errors in school-aged children, conducted by optometry students as a community service. METHODS: The study was cross-sectional. Totally 3343 participants were included in the study. The initial examination involved assessing the uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) and visual acuity (VA) while using a +2.00 D lens. The inclusion criteria for a subsequent comprehensive cycloplegic eye examination, performed by an optometrist, were as follows: a UDVA<0.6 decimal (0.20 logMAR) and/or a VA with +2.00 D ≥0.8 decimal (0.96 logMAR). RESULTS: The sample had a mean age of 10.92±2.13y (range 4 to 17y), and 51.3% of the children were female (n=1715). The majority of the children (89.7%) fell within the age range of 8 to 14y. Among the ethnic groups, the highest representation was from the Luhya group (60.6%) followed by Luo (20.4%). Mean logMAR UDVA choosing the best eye for each student was 0.29±0.17 (range 1.70 to 0.22). Out of the total, 246 participants (7.4%) had a full eye examination. The estimated prevalence of myopia (defined as spherical equivalent ≤-0.5 D) was found to be 1.45% of the total sample. While around 0.18% of the total sample had hyperopia value exceeding +1.75 D. Refractive astigmatism (cil<-0.75 D) was found in 0.21% (7/3343) of the children. The VI prevalence was 1.26% of the total sample. Among our cases of VI, 76.2% could be attributed to uncorrected refractive error. Amblyopia was detected in 0.66% (22/3343) of the screened children. There was no statistically significant correlation observed between age or gender and refractive values. CONCLUSION: The primary cause of VI is determined to be uncorrected refractive errors, with myopia being the most prevalent refractive error observed. These findings underscore the significance of early identification and correction of refractive errors in school-aged children as a means to alleviate the impact of VI.

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Isabel Signes-Soler, Alfred Ragot, Sheilah Nangena, et al. Prevalence of visual impairment and estimation of refractive errors among school children in Kakamega, Kenya. Int J Ophthalmol, 2024,17(5):932-939

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  • Received:July 08,2023
  • Revised:December 20,2023
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  • Online: April 24,2024
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