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Prasidh Ramson, Mary Wepo, V Chan, Goitum Mebrahatu, Kovin Naidoo; Prevalence of Refractive Error and Spectacles Coverage in Zoba Ma’ekel, Eritrea. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):2842.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
There is an identified need for refractive services in Eritrea. Availability of baseline information will assist in planning for refractive services and blindness prevention strategies.
This is a community-based cross-sectional study using multistage clusters sampling. The methodology was adopted from the Rapid Assessment of Refractive Error (RARE), which is a research methodology designed especially for gathering information on refractive errors in a population. The population of Zoba Ma’ekel was estimated at 635, 836 (2006). Subjects were selected and gathered from population aged 15-50 years old in Zoba Ma’ekel using multistage cluster sampling.
3200 participants between the ages of 15-50 years old were enumerated. The response rate was 99.1%. The prevalence of refractive error was 6.4% (95% CI 5.6% - 7.2%). The spectacles coverage for refractive error was 22.2% (95% CI 16.7% - 28.5%), higher in males (Fisher’s exact, p=0.028), highest in those who have completed secondary school, being 48.6% (95% CI 31.9%-65.6%) and higher in those who reside in Asmara (Fisher’s exact, p<0.002). The prevalence of presbyopia was 32.9% (95% CI 30.3%-35.7%) and 94.9% were correctable. Spectacles coverage for presbyopia was 9.9% (95% CI 7.2%-13.4%), being lowest in those who never had any formal schooling, highest in those who have completed their secondary school (X24=34.918, p=0.000) and was higher in those residing in Asmara (Fisher’s exact, p<0.000). Respondents expressed different barriers to uptake of services. Most people were aware of the problem but did not feel the need for consultation. Some felt the services were too far away, were unaware of their problem and could not afford the costs of examination and the costs of glasses.
The RARE has provided helpful findings to mount appropriate refractive services in Zoba Ma’ekel. It was concluded that uncorrected refractive error is of public health importance and needed remedial measures to overcome the problem.
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