Refractive Errors and Binocular Anomalies in Primary Schools in Uyoun Aljawa: A Small Urban Town in Saudi Arabia

  •  Waleed Alghamdi    


AIM: To assess the prevalence of uncorrected refractive error (RE) and binocular vision (BV) anomalies in school-aged children in Uyoun Aljawa, a small urban town in Saudi Arabia.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 417 students (aged 6–13 years old) conducted in two primary schools in Uyoun Aljawa from November 2019 to January 2020. All students underwent comprehensive eye examination that include: distance visual acuity (VA), Non- cycloplegic refraction, ocular alignment assessment with the cover test; Near Point of Convergence (NPC) evaluation, Near stereo-acuity with Titmus-fly Stereotest, and finally, colour vision was screened with Ishihara plates.

RESULTS: A total of 417 male schoolchildren (mean age ± SD: 9.2 ± 1.9) were included. In this study, 78 (18.4%) students had reduced vision (VA of ≤6/9) of which only 21 (27%) students had spectacles at the time of the study and 19.2% had uncorrected RE (VA of <6/18 and no corrections). Emmetropia was reported in 80.3% of children where hyperopia was the most common refractive error (8.9%) followed by myopia (7.7%), and simple astigmatism was reported only in 3.1%. Heterophoria was reported in 12.5% of the sample, 5.2% had convergence insufficiency, and 16.3% showed subnormal results in stereo-acuity and 11 cases had a colour vision deficiency.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study reveal a high prevalence of RE and other BVA among schoolchildren in Uyoun Aljawa. Vision Screening programs of children for RE and BVA should be conducted at the community level and integrated into school health programmes.

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