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Rev Saude Publica. 2004 Apr;38(2):201-8. Epub 2004 Apr 26.

[Prevalence of low visual acuity in public school's students from Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Medicina Preventiva, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.



Low visual acuity (VA) is an important public health problem due to its high prevalence and because it needs early diagnosis in order to prevent damage in childhood development and apprenticeship. To describe and analyze low visual acuity (VA) prevalence among school children.


Once performed the VA test to 1st and 4th grades primary school children data were analyzed by separating students according to sex, school grade, wearing of glasses, residence area and level of access to the supplementary medical assistance (SMA).


The total of 9,640 students was evaluated during the year of 2000 and they presented a prevalence of low VA of 13.1% (CI 12.5-13.8%). There was a statistical significant lower prevalence in males (11.5%) compared to females (14.9%) - (PR=0.77). There was a statistical significant higher prevalence in 1st grade students (14.1%) compared to 4th grade (11.5%) - (PR=1.22). There was also a statistical significant lower prevalence for those who were not wearing glasses (12.1%) compared to those who were using glasses (42.0%) - (PR=0.29). Concerning to residence areas, Cajuru neighborhood had the lower prevalence of low VA (1.8%) and Vila Sabia neighborhood had the higher prevalence (32.4%), and a positive correlation, according to residence area, between the proportion of people with access to the Supplementary Medical Assistance and the proportion of children wearing glasses was found (r=0.64, p<0.001).


The low VA high prevalence shows lack in early diagnosis and continuity of assistance pointing out to the urgent need of implementation in visual health public.

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