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Prevalence of Myopia and its Risk Factors in Rural Schoolchildren
15 February 2019 (online)
Introduction: Myopia, also known as short sightedness, is a type of refractive error in which parallel rays coming from infinity are focused in front of the retina when accommodation is at rest. It is a condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. It is an ophthalmic condition affecting 30% population. It is commonly seen in schoolchildren aged 8 to 12 years. This study was undertaken to find the prevalence of myopia among students aged 5 to 16 years of a school in a rural area of Wardha, Maharashtra, India.
Materials and methods: Study sample included children between 5 and 16 years of age from a nearby rural school. We recorded degree of myopia by autorefractometer, and students with refractive error of <-0.5 D for at least one eye were considered as myopic. Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were followed.
Results: It was found that the prevalence of myopia is 39.6%. Mild to moderate degree of myopia was more common than severe one. Among the 198 myopic students, 112 were females and 86 were males. We found that there was no significant correlation between family history and presence of myopia. But, unhealthy reading habits and playing games on computer for 1 to 2 hours have an influence in the development of myopia.
Conclusion: Due to high magnitude of uncorrected myopia, it appears to be a public health problem both in urban and rural areas, which suggest that an increase in outdoor activity may help to reduce the magnitude of the problem. Schoolteachers should be involved for positive reinforcement of schoolchildren for screening.
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