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Uncorrected refractive error in Singapore teenagers


Aim: To study the prevalence rate of uncorrected refractive error and associated risk factors among Singapore schoolchildren aged 12–16 years (grade 7).

Methods: A cross sectional study of 628 participants (participation rate 99.8%) was conducted in two schools. An interviewer led questionnaire asking about sociodemographic variables and risk factors was administered. Refractive errors were measured using a table mounted autorefractor. Participants with habitual visual acuity (VA) of 0.2 logMAR or worse underwent subjective refraction. Uncorrected refractive error was defined as improvement of at least 0.2 logMAR in best corrected visual acuity after subjective refraction.

Results: The prevalence rate of uncorrected refractive error was 22.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 19.0% to 25.5%). The multivariate adjusted odds ratio of uncorrected refractive error in students with the lowest academic ability was 2.24 (95% CI 1.34 to 3.73). Increasing time interval since the last visit to an eye care provider increased the risk of uncorrected refractive error (trend p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Uncorrected refractive error was a significant problem among Singapore students aged 12–16 years (grade 7). Uncorrected refractive error was more common among students with low academic ability or those who had not visited an eye care provider for a long time.

  • RESC, Refractive Error Study in Children
  • SE, spherical equivalent
  • VA, visual acuity
  • refractive errors
  • children
  • cross sectional studies
  • Singapore

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