Refractive Error and Visual Impairment in School Children in Rural Southern China

  • The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment in school children in a rural area of southern China.

  • The study was conducted amongst the 2400 children between 13 and 17 years old in southern China.

  • The study found that six hundred forty-nine children (27.0%) were visually impaired in both eyes (20/40), with 19 (0.79%) of these reported blind (20/200).

  • Sixty percent of the children who could achieve acuity (≥20/32) in at least one eye with best correction did not have necessary spectacles.

  • Refractive error was identified as the main cause in 97.1% of eyes with reduced vision; amblyopia (0.81%); other causes (0.67%); and unexplained causes (1.4%).

  • Myopia was also reported to increase with age and affected 36.8% of 13-year-olds, increasing to 53.9% of 17-year-olds.

  • The study indicates that myopia was associated with higher grade level, female gender, schooling in the county urban center, and higher parental education.

  • Hyperopia affected approximately 1.0% in all age groups.

  • Astigmatism was present in 25.3% of all children.

  • The study found that most rural Chinese children had reduced vision because of uncorrected myopia. Thus, effective VA screening strategies are needed to eliminate this easily treated cause of visual impairment.

This article was identified as a reference for a VII-commissioned systematic review on the Impact of URE on Children.

Publication date

December 7, 2016




He M, Huang W, Zheng Y, Huang L ,Leon B. Ellwein L.B
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