Vol 9 (2024): Continuous Publishing
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Published online: 2024-03-28

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Prevalence and socio-demographic distribution of uncorrected refractive errors in school-going adolescents in Kakamega County, Kenya

Emmanuel E. Okenwa-Vincent12, Jyoti Naidoo3, Peter Clarke-Farr4
Ophthalmol J 2024;9:45-52.


BACKGROUND: Efforts to mitigate vision loss due to uncorrected refractive errors (UREs) in Africa remain unpredictable. This study investigated the prevalence and socio-demographic distribution of UREs in school-going adolescents of Kakamega County in Kenya.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with randomly selected secondary school adolescents. Participants were screened and clinically examined for URE types and dioptric strength and were administered questionnaires designed to elicit socio-demographic, socioeconomic, and perceived well-being information.

RESULTS: 165 students, aged 17.50 ± 1.576 years, were included in the study. The prevalence of URE was found to be 8.65%, for which 27% of all UREs were significant. URE types were classified as astigmatism (52%), myopia (25%), and hyperopia (23%). Astigmatism and hyperopia were more common among males (59% and 61%, respectively) than females, while myopia occurred slightly more among females (51%) than males. Most participants (72%) were from large families, 92% had parents who were poorly educated, 85% had poor occupational statuses, and 89% were from rural settings. The interclass differences in all the pre-defined socio-demographic statuses were not significant (p > 0.05), including the within-group interaction with UREs. The distributions were significantly different (p < 0.05) for well being, with over two-thirds of the participants reporting poor-to-fair perceived well-being, with a recent known history of poor eye health.

CONCLUSIONS: URE is highly prevalent among school-going adolescents in Kakamega County. The study recommends intensified strategies to increase spectacle uptake among learners in rural settings and of low socioeconomic means.

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