Prevalence of Refractive Error and Associated Risk Factors in School-Age Children in Nepal: A Cross-sectional Study
Introduction: The most common visual disorder in school age children is refractive error globally. The present study aimed to know the prevalence of refractive errors and explore the factors associated with the refractive error in school-age children in Palpa district of western part of Nepal. Methods: All the school children were selected between age groups 5 to 18 years from four schools of Palpa by multistage sampling method. After the preliminary examination on visual acuity, the children were referred to the Department of Ophthalmology, Lumbini Medical College, Palpa for confirmation of the refractive errors. Results: In school-age children the prevalence of refractive error was 9% of which myopia was the most common (4.05%). Females (about 12%) were more likely to have refractive errors than males (about 7%). The refractive error of males was 0.106 (right eye) and 0.564 (left eye) times more likely than females. The refractive errors were statistically found more common in Dalit students (14.6%) than Brahmin/Chhetri (about 12%) and Janajati (7.6%). The prevalence of refractive errors among students using smart phone/ laptop (about 12%) was higher than those not using (8.36%). Conclusion: Sex, ethnicity, and near-work activity like using the smart device were the covariates of developing refractive error on the eye. Myopia was more among those students who were using smartphones/laptops. Near activities stress on eyes of the children and might be one of the causes of developing myopia.
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