Evidence for the Need for Vision Screening of School Children in Turkey
In many countries, access to general health and eye care is related to an individual’s socioeconomic status (SES).
This study examined the prevalence of oculo-visual disorders in children in Istanbul Turkey, drawn from schools at SES extremes but geographically nearby.
Three school-based vision screenings (presenting distance visual acuity, cover test, eye assessment history, colour vision, gross stereopsis and non-cycloplegic autorefraction) were conducted on 81% of a potential 1014 primary-school children aged 4–10 years from two private schools and a nearby government school in central Istanbul.
Prevalence of refractive errors and school-based differences were analysed using parametric statistics (ANOVA). The remaining oculo-visual aspects were compared using non-parametric tests.
Of the 823 children, approximately 10% were referred for a full eye examination (8.2% and 16.3% of private/government schools respectively).
Vision had not been previously examined in nearly 22% of private school children and 65% of government school children.
Of all children, 94.5% were able to accurately identify the 6/9.5 line of letters/shapes with each eye and 86.6% the 6/6 line, while 7.9% presented wearing spectacles, 3.8% had impaired colour vision, 1.5% had grossly impaired stereo-vision, 1.5% exhibited strabismus, 1.8% were suspected to have amblyopia and 0.5% had reduced acuity of likely organic origin.
Of the 804 without strabismus, amblyopia or organic conditions, 6.0% were myopic, 0.6% hyperopic, 7.7% astigmatic and 6.2% anisometropic .
The results highlight the need for general vision screenings for all children prior to school entry given the varied and different pattern of visual problems associated with lifestyle differences in two populations raised in the same urban locale but drawn from different socioeconomic backgrounds.