Epidemiologic Study of Refractive Errors in Schoolchildren in Socioeconomically Deprived Regions in Tunisia
This study’s purpose was to estimate the prevalence of common refractive errors in schoolchildren in low socioeconomic regions in Tunisia and to assess their effect on school performance.
The population was 708 schoolchildren living in the cities of Tunis and Tabarka (North), Kerkena (Center), and Tozeur (South).
The study found that the prevalence of myopia was significantly higher after the age of fourteen. It increased significantly with age.
The prevalence of hyperopia was significantly higher between the ages of 8 and 11.
Hyperopic astigmatism was significantly more frequent between 6 and 9 years of age. There was no significant difference regarding sex. However, the distribution of the refractive errors by region showed a significantly high level of myopia in Tunis, Kerkena, and Tozeur. This difference disappeared with increasing age.
The study of the effect of these refractive errors on school performance of these children from poor areas showed a significant association between all types of refractive errors and academic failure, with an odds ratio of 2.13 for all types of refractive errors, 2.69 for hyperopia, 2.87 for myopia, and 2.73 for astigmatism.
This study showed the prevalence of refractive errors in a poor population of schoolchildren and emphasized the importance of such examinations. The ability of a child to participate in the educational experience is at least partially dependent on good vision.