Naveen Kumar M1, Sumeet Chopra2, Arun Bhatti3, Nitin Batra4
Refractive errors are the second most common cause for childhood blindness across the globe. Early detection and correction of refractive errors in school children is inexpensive and also an effective form of eye care services. Aim- To study the status of refractive errors in children through school screening programme in urban and rural areas of Ludhiana district.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study was done on students aged 5 to 15 years from randomly selected urban and rural schools of Ludhiana district, Punjab. A detailed ocular history which included, history of use of spectacles and about past and present complaints was taken. Students who were found to have a visual acuity equal to or less than 6/9 were referred to the Department of Ophthalmology, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. At the base hospital a complete eye examination was done which included cycloplegic retinoscopy. Appropriate spectacles were then prescribed to the children after post mydriatic refraction.
Over 3 years a total of 20,235 students were examined. Of these 11,565 were males and 8,670 were females. There were a total of 1,582 myopes, 854 hyperopes, 306 with astigmatism and 89 amblyopic children (66 unilateral, 23 bilateral). As compared to males the distribution of decreased visual acuity in girls was higher. The comparison of decreased visual acuity in different age groups showed that the number of students with decreased vision increased proportionately with age.
In finding out the incidence and type of refractive errors in school children, school-screening programme has proven to be very effective. Children with decreased visual acuity detected at screening must undergo a thorough ocular examination at the base hospital.