Prevalence of Visual Impairment among Primary and Secondary School Children in Delta State, Nigeria

John Esimaje Moyegbone, Ezekiel Uba Nwose, Edmond Ifeanyi Anowa, Amatoritsero Clarke, Joseph Onyedenyifa Odoko, Emmanuel Agbonomhen Agege.


Purpose: Visual impairment (VI) being a state of physiological or pathological disorders of vision poses a burden on human activities globally. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of VI among school children in Delta State.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study of 201 respondents aged 6 to 19 years was randomly selected from primary and secondary schools in the three senatorial districts of Delta State. Participants were evaluated using a structured questionnaire, distance Snellen chart, ophthalmoscope, and torchlight. Vision status was defined using World Health Organization categories of visual impairment based on presenting visual acuity (PVA). Data were presented in frequency tables, and charts and analysed with ChiSquare statistics. All p-values reported were two-tailed and statistical significance was defined as P < 0.05.

Results: The mean age of participants was 12.30± 3.14 years, while 118 (58.7%) were females. The overall prevalence of VI (PVA of <6/18 in the better eye) was 58 (28.9%). The prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe VI was 40 (19.9%), 13 (6.5%), and 5 (2.5%) respectively. Refractive error 47 (23.4%) was the leading cause of VI. The prevalence of VI was higher in females, children 13-19 years, and respondents whose parents’ income per month was >100,000. These observed differences were not statistically significant (p>0.05).

Conclusion: Untreated refractive error was the leading cause of VI among school children in Delta State. This is an avoidable cause of VI that can be treated with a spectacle prescription to ease the burden of visual loss.

Keywords: Visual Impairment, Prevalence, Refractive Error, Glaucoma, Cornea Opacity, School Children

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