Awareness of Presence of Refractive error among Rural North Indian population

Author(s): Pragati Garg, Mehvish Malik

Introduction: Visual Impairment due to uncorrected refractive error affects 200-250 million people in the world. Correction of uncorrected refractive errors is a priority of Vision 2020-The Right to Sight. Awareness about the Refractive error its associated symptoms along with its treatment can play an important role in prevention of blindness.

Results: Self Designed Survey questionnaire had been distributed to 4177 randomly selected people of the Age group 15-45 attending Rural Health Centre in North India. Out of enrolled individual maximum 24.6% were in age group 41-45 yrs, followed by 22.5% in age group 15-20 yrs. According to Kuppu Swami scale maximum 35.5% of study population was of Lower class followed by 32.9% of upper lower class. Study had (38.3%) males and (61.6%) females, 26.6% of enrolled participants wore spectacles. 23.2% were aware about the refractive error and 5.5% had knowledge about its symptoms. 21.6% of the spectacle users and 2.3% of non-spectacle users were aware of the importance of wearing spectacles. 3.1% of all were aware about urgency for seeking eye care help. 19.4% prefer spectacles as optical correction and 1.6% prefer contact lens over spectacle use. 2 % among spectacle users were aware about photorefractive surgery but only 0.6% preferred surgeries over spectacles and contact lenses.

Conclusion: In order to reduce the impact of visual problems related to refractive errors like amblyopia, blurring of vision, headache, eye strain, redness of eyes etc. Certain steps in society should be undertaken towards the general public, such as information through media and publicity, public education, screenings for ametropia in schools and at work place and government subsidies of optical equipments.

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