Prevalence of Uncorrected Refractive Errors Among School-Age Children in the School District of Philadelphia
The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence and severity of uncorrected refractive errors in school-age children attending Philadelphia public schools.
The Wills Eye Vision Screening Program for Children is a community-based pediatric vision screening program designed to detect and correct refractive errors and refer those with nonrefractive eye diseases for examination by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Between January 2014 and June 2016 the program screened 18,974 children in grades K-5 in Philadelphia public schools.
Children who failed the vision screening were further examined by an on-site ophthalmologist or optometrist; children whose decreased visual acuity was not amenable to spectacle correction were referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Of the 18,974 children screened, 2,492 (13.1%) exhibited uncorrected refractive errors: 1,776 (9.4%) children had myopia, 459 (2.4%) had hyperopia, 1,484 (7.8%) had astigmatism, and 846 (4.5%) had anisometropia.
Of the 2,492 with uncorrected refractive error, 368 children (14.8%) had more than one refractive error diagnosis.
In stratifying refractive error diagnoses by severity, mild myopia (spherical equivalent of −0.50 D to < −3.00 D) was the most common diagnosis, present in 1,573 (8.3%) children.
In this urban population 13.1% of school-age children exhibited uncorrected refractive errors.