Background: School children are affected by various eye disorders like refractive errors, squint, Vitamin A deficiency and eye infections. Children do not complain of defective vision. Uncorrected refractive errors form the primary cause for visual impairment and blindness in India. This warrants early detection and treatment of these problems to prevent future blindness.
Aims: The study was conducted with the objective of comparing the prevalence of ocular problems among school going children studying at a government and a private school in rural area and to create ‘eye-health awareness’ among them.
Method: This was a cross-sectional study of school children of two schools, one a government school and another private residential school in rural area of Karnataka state. The students were screened for eye disorders by visual acuity testing, anterior segment torch light examination and fundus examination with undilated pupil. Those children identified with ocular disorders were subjected for detailed examination at our tertiary care hospital.
Results: A total of 700 children at government school and 600 among private school were examined. The prevalence of ocular morbidity was 74.29% among government school children and was only 10.33% among private school children. Vitamin A deficiency was conspicuously seen only among the government school children (62.7%). Refractive error was the commonest morbid condition among the private school children (6.5%).
Conclusion: Ocular disorders among school going children can be easily identified by regular eye screening programmes, promptly treated can be protected from future complications and childhood blindness can be prevented.
Eye screening, ocular disorders, refractive errors, rural area, school children