Prevalence and Distribution of Refractive Errors among Ophthalmic Patients in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea
This study conducted at Madang Provincial Hospital Eye Clinic in Papua New Guinea aimed to assess the prevalence and distribution of refractive errors. They conducted a retrospective study from January to December 2016, recording demographic and clinic data of patients' first visits. Out of 1,184 patient records, 52.53% had refractive errors, with a mean age of 49.68 years. Myopia was the most common refractive error (53.1%), followed by hyperopia (32.5%) and astigmatism (14.4%). Visual impairment was present in 21.2% of patients, with a significant relationship between visual impairment and age group. Nearly all patients (95.3%) adopted spectacle correction, and some were suspected of having functional amblyopia. The study revealed that uncorrected refractive errors are a significant cause of visual impairment in Papua New Guinea, emphasizing the need for integrating eye care services into primary healthcare for early detection and prevention of visual impairment caused by these errors. It also highlighted challenges in accessing eye care services, especially for those in rural areas, and called for equitable distribution of eye care professionals in the country. Further research is needed to understand refractive error prevalence across all age groups and regions in Papua New Guinea.