Refractive Errors Among Primary School Children in Sana’a City, Yemen

 Adnan Ali Thabit1*, Tawfik Al-Khatib1

1Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana'a University

Introduction:

Eyes are the windows of learning and visual appreciation of objects and contribute to learning in any individual's life. Visual disability in childhood can be minimized, or even prevented, if the causes are detected early and treated before they become irreversible. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) estimates that as many as one in five children in UK schools may have an undiagnosed vision problem1. Refractive errors are one of the major causes of low vision and preventable blindness and the most common reason for patients to consult ophthalmologists and optometrists throughout the world. Refractive errors are the fourth commonest cause of blindness in the developing world2,3 . It is estimated that globally 153 million people over 5 years of age are visually impaired as a result of uncorrected refractive errors, of whom 8 million are blind (WHO, 2006). Visual disorders are the fourth most common disability of children and the leading cause of

handicapping conditions in childhood. Most developing countries have no national preschool or school eye screening programs and in most cases screening is done for the purposes of research2. Therefore, little is known about the prevalence and public health importance of eye diseases in school age children in these countries4. Visual impairment from uncorrected refractive errors can have immediate and long-term consequences in children and adults5, such as: lost educational and employment opportunities6, lost economic gain for individuals, families and societies, and impaired quality of life. Various factors are responsible for refractive errors remaining uncorrected, as lack of awareness and recognition of the problem at personal and family level, as well as at community and public health level, non-availability and/or inability to afford refractive services for testing, insufficient provision of affordable corrective lenses, and cultural disincentives to compliance. The world health organization has launched the global

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An Academic Biannual Refereed Journal, Published by Sana'a University

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