AUTHOR: DR. JOSIAH AMAECHI UCHE
DEPARTMENT: COMMUNITY MEDICINE
AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA
Background: Refractive error has been asserted as one of the most common causes of visual impairment around the world and the second leading cause of treatable blindness. It is an optical defect intrinsic to the eye which prevents the light from being brought to a single point focus. Objective: This study was embarked upon with the major objective of assessing the pattern and prevalence of errors of refraction in General Hospital Onitsha Eye Centre in adolescents (aged10-19) for the period January 2007-December 2008. Methodology: This was a Cross Sectional Descriptive survey with a population of 672 only 254 (37.8%) showed refractive errors. The data were entered into the computer using a statistical software( Minitab) which was used for all the analysis such as mean, standard deviation, chi square and analysis of variance. Excell(2003) was used for the bar charts Within the limits of Myopia>-0.50, Hyperopia +2.00 if under full cycloplegic +0.50 without cyclopedgic. Astigmatism +0.50 whether alone or combined with either myopia or hyperopia. Result: The results obtained showed that Astigmatism has the greatest percentage 170(67%), myopia 50 (19.6%) and hyperopia 34 (13.4%). Astigmatism and hyperopia were found more in the female gender 132 (52%) and 24(9.4%) respectively. The three types of errors myopia, hyperopia and Astigmatism were found to have significant correlative association with age, sex and some other environmental factors . Conclusion: Refractive error was found to be the main cause of visual impairment in adolescents and a major public health problem that needs cost effective strategies to eliminate. Such cost effective strategies as vision screening programmes with quality trained personnel to perform refraction, develop adequate infrastructural equipments and issuing of spectacles. All these must be within the content of comprehensive approaches to reduce all causes of avoidable blindness.
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