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Ethiop J Health Sci. 2012 Jul;22(2):129-34.

Screening of primary school children for refractive error in South-South Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.



Vision screening study in primary school children has not been done in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria. This study was therefore conducted to screen primary school children for refractive error in Bayelsa State and use the data to plan for an effective school Eye Health Program.


A cross sectional study on screening for refractive error in school children was carried out in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in June 2009. A multistage sampling technique was used to select the study population (pupils aged 5-15 years). Visual acuity for each eye was assessed by an Ophthalmic nurse and Optometrist outside the classroom, at 6 meters distance. Those with visual acuity of 6/9 or less were presented with a pinhole and the test repeated. Improvement of visual acuity with pinhole was considered refractive error. Funduscopy was done inside a poorly lit classroom. Data was analyzed with EPI INFO version 6.


A total of 1,242 (658 females and 584 males) Pupils were examined. About 97.7% of eyes had normal vision of 6/6 while 49 out of 56 eyes, with visual acuity of 6/9 or less, improved with pinhole. Twenty seven pupils had refractive error, giving a prevalence of 2.2%. Refractive error involved both eyes in 22 pupils (81.5%) with the 8-10 years age range having the highest proportion (40.7%) of cases followed by 11-13 years age range (37.0%).


The prevalence of refractive error in school children in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria was low.


Refractive error; School children; Screening

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