Prevalence of Refractive Errors and Visual Impairment in School Children in Enugu South-East Nigeria
In a cross-sectional survey of 1167 school children aged 5-15 in Enugu State, South-eastern Nigeria, the study aimed to determine the prevalence of refractive errors and causes of visual impairment. The results showed that 3.6% had uncorrected visual acuity (VA) of ≤20/40, 3.5% had presenting VA ≤20/40, and 0.4% had best-corrected VA ≤20/40 in their better eye. Among children with visual impairment, 33.3% had refractive errors, with an overall prevalence of 2.1%, mostly myopia (1.9%) and less commonly hyperopia (0.1%). Myopia was more prevalent in urban schools, among older students, and slightly higher in females. The study revealed that many children needing refractive correction did not have access to it, highlighting the importance of school vision screening programs. Despite the low prevalence of refractive error, such screening serves not only to address these issues but also to identify other ocular problems among African children. This study, based on the Refractive Error in School-age Children (RESC) protocol, contributes valuable data for understanding childhood refractive errors in Nigeria and suggests the need for cost-effective interventions and eye care services in the region.