Refractive Error Among Public and Private School Children in Dhangadhi City of Far West Nepal

Author(s): Suresh Raj Pant, Suresh Awasthi, Ramesh Chandra Bhatta, Manish Poudel, Mohan Krishna Shrestha

Objective: The objective of this study is to compare the prevalence of refractive error among private and public-school children.

Methods: Altogether 18 schools of Dhangadhi (capital city of Far West Province of Nepal) with a mix of public and private schools were randomly selected. We collected data from children studying in grade 1-10 from January to March 2018. Eye examination was performed for all children satisfying inclusion criteria. Refractive error was determined by retinoscopy followed by subjective refraction.

Results: A total of 5128 school children (3159 from public and 1969 from private) were examined. The overall prevalence of refractive error was 80 (2.5%) (95% CI 2%-3.1%) children in public schools, of which 48 (1.5%) (95% CI 1.1-2) had myopia and 32(1%) (95% CI 0.7-1.4) had hyperopia. Among private school children, refractive error was present in 93 (4.7%) (95% CI 3.8-5.7) children, of which 55 (2.8%) (95% CI 2.1-3.6) had myopia and 3 (1.9%) (95% CI 1.4-2.7) had hypermetropia. Among Brahmin/Chhetry ethnic group, refractive error was 40 (3.5%) in public school and 75 (5.2%) in private school children.

Conclusion: The prevalence of refractive error among private school children is twice as that in public school children which was higher in Brahmin/Chhetry than other ethnic groups.

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