Distribution of Refractive Errors Among Secondary School Children in Malamulele Community, Limpopo Province
Refractive errors in children are among the leading causes of preventable blindness. This study was carried out to assess the occurrence of refractive errors among secondary school children in Malamulele community.
This is a cross-sectional study which used simple random sampling technique to sample the participants. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire, Snellen chart and an auto refractor were also used to obtain refractive errors (RE) of the participants. Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 22, where frequencies and descriptive statistics were computed. To find associations between variables, chi square testwas performed.
A total of 290 children participated in the study. The prevalence of refractive errors among the study population was found to be relatively high (24.9%). Females had higher number of refractive error than their male counterparts. Though the study found no significant association between gender and refractive errors (chi-square value=3.092, p-value=0.213) but there was a high percentage of refractive error among children born between the years 2000 to 2002 with hyperopia being the highest, followed by myopia then astigmatism. There was no association between age and refractive error, chi-square (10.644) and p-value of 0.560. Lack of awareness among population regarding the importance of vision test and the importance of RE correction could explain the high yield of the detected cases of refractive errors in the target population.
It is recommended that parents, Departments of Health and Education work together to promote screening for refractive errors among secondary school children. Awareness campaigns regarding the importance of refractive errors, correction and the risk of uncorrected refractive errors must be intensified by health workers in communities.