Abstract

Prevalence of Refractive Errors in Rural Population of Ganjam, Southern Odisha

Author(s): Sachala Bhoi, Kasturi Mohapatra, B. Nageswar Rao Subudhi, Pallavi Ray

BACKGROUND Refractive error is an optical defect, intrinsic to the eye which prevents light from being brought to a single point focus on the retina, thus reducing normal vision. Diagnosis and treatment of refractive error is relatively simple and is one of easiest ways to reduce impaired vision. We wanted to determine the prevalence and frequency of various types of refractive errors in rural population of Ganjam, Odisha. METHODS This is a cross sectional study in which 7,384 individuals in the age group of 5-60 years were evaluated during teleophthalmology visits during the period October 2016 to September 2018, in the rural population of Ganjam, Odisha. Individuals whose VA was <6/6 were further evaluated using slit lamp, retinoscopy and ophthalmoscopy. The requisite refractive error correction was carried out and the results were properly recorded to diagnose the type of refractive error. RESULTS The Prevalence of refractive error was found to be 27.40%. Refractive error was found to be more common in males (30.38%) as compared to the female rural population which reported a prevalence of 23.65%. The prevalence of refractive errors was found to be highest in the age group of 5-10 years i.e., 35.50%. In our study, myopia was the most common type of refractive error accounting for 61.31% followed by hypermetropia 26.82% and astigmatism 11.85% respectively. Myopia was the most common refractive error in both males (60.38%) and females (62.82%). Hypermetropia was found to be more common in females (30.69%) as compared to males (24.4%). Astigmatism was more common in males (15.17%) as compared to females (6.47%). It was observed that myopia was the most common refractive error in the age group 5-10 years (75.4%), while hypermetropia was most commonly observed in the age group 41-50 years (41.3%). Out of the 2,024 rural population having refractive error (21.09%), individuals were using glasses. Rest were either unaware or not using glasses. 14.7% of rural population with refractive error had history of spectacle use in siblings and 9.7% had history of spectacle use in either parents. CONCLUSIONS Rural population represents a high-risk group and is often neglected while it accounts for significant proportion of refractive errors. Most of the rural population are unaware of their refractive errors. Refractive errors can be easily treated with spectacles and as such, the detrimental impact of visual impairment on the quality of life can be easily prevented.

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