Status of visual impairment among indigenous (Orang Asli) school children in Malaysia
The study investigates visual impairment prevalence and causes among Orang Asli children in Malaysia, a population facing poverty and limited access to healthcare. Of the 110 children aged 7 to 12 examined, 40.9% had visual problems, with refractive errors being the primary cause (34.5%). Hyperopia (farsightedness) was the leading refractive error (28.2%), followed by amblyopia (2.7%), strabismus (1.8%), and ocular abnormalities (1.8%). The findings emphasize the importance of comprehensive vision screening for early detection, crucial to preventing learning difficulties in a population already disadvantaged. The Orang Asli, comprising various ethnicities, experience high poverty rates, and previous studies on their visual status are limited. The study underscores the need for improved vision care services tailored to this community, aligning with global trends where developing countries, especially indigenous populations, face higher rates of visual impairment. Addressing refractive errors and other visual issues in Orang Asli children could significantly impact their academic achievement and overall quality of life.