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Oman J Ophthalmol. 2019 May-Aug;12(2):114-118. doi: 10.4103/ojo.OJO_62_2017.

Refractive error of Saudi children enrolled in primary school and kindergarten measured with a spot screener.

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Department of Research, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



To evaluate the refractive status of young Saudi schoolchildren with a "Spot Screener."


This cross-sectional study was conducted from January to July 2016 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Children of kindergarten (3-5 years) and grades 1 and 2 (6-7 years) were screened for refractive error (RE) using the handheld Spot Screener (Welch Allyn, Skaneateles Falls, NY, USA). Data were collected on age, gender, and spectacle use. The pass/fail notation from the Spot Screener and the RE were documented. Children with a "fail" were re-tested with an autorefractor (AR). The rate of agreement was evaluated for the spherical equivalent (SE) from the Spot Screener and AR.


We examined 300 schoolchildren and 114 preschool children. The prevalence of RE was 22% in schoolchildren and 25% in preschoolers. There were 183 (61%) hyperopes, 110 (36.7%) myopes, 6 (2%) emmetropes, and 29 (9.7%) astigmats (>2 D cylinder) in grade 1 and 2. There were 85 (74.6%) hyperopes, 22 (19.3%) myopes, 7 (6.1%) emmetropes, and 10 (8.8%) astigmats among preschoolers. The SE differed between the AR and the Spot Screener in 17 (28%) children of 61 failed Spot Screener tests. Accommodation (9, 53%) and high astigmatism (8, 47%) were the main underlying causes of the difference. The Spot Screener could identify RE for the first time in 51 (17%) schoolchildren and 26 (22%) preschoolers. End-users suggested that Spot Screener was child-friendly and quick to test RE.


The Spot Screener could be a good initial screening tool for RE in young schoolchildren.


Childhood blindness; eye screening; myopia; refractive error

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