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Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2005 May-Jun;68(3):321-5. Epub 2005 Jul 26.

[Prevalence of refractive errors in students in Northeastern Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil.



To determine the prevalence of refractive errors in the public and private school system in the city of Natal, Northeastern Brazil.


Refractometry was performed on both eyes of 1,024 randomly selected students, enrolled in the 2001 school year and the data were evaluated by the SPSS Data Editor 10.0. Ametropia was divided into: 1- from 0.1 to 0.99 diopter (D); 2- 1.0 to 2.99 D; 3- 3.00 to 5.99 D and 4- 6D or greater. Astigmatism was regrouped in: I- with-the-rule (axis from 0 to 30 and 150 to 180 degrees), II- against-the-rule (axis between 60 and 120 degrees) and III- oblique (axis between > 30 and < 60 and >120 and <150 degrees). The age groups were categorized as follows, in: 1- 5 to 10 years, 2- 11 to 15 years, 3- 16 to 20 years, 4- over 21 years.


Among refractive errors, hyperopia was the most common with 71%, followed by astigmatism (34%) and myopia (13.3%). Of the students with myopia and hyperopia, 48.5% and 34.1% had astigmatism, respectively. With respect to diopters, 58.1% of myopic students were in group 1, and 39% distributed between groups 2 and 3. Hyperopia were mostly found in group 1 (61.7%) as well as astigmatism (70.6%). The association of the astigmatism axes of both eyes showed 92.5% with axis with-the-rule in both eyes, while the percentage for those with axis against-the-rule was 82.1% and even lower for the oblique axis (50%).


The results found differed from those of most international studies, mainly from the Orient, which pointed to myopia as the most common refractive error, and corroborates the national ones, with the majority being hyperopia.

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