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G. Kodjebacheva, F. Yu, F. Oelrich, A. L. Coleman; Race/Ethnicity and Visual Impairment in First-graders: The UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2491.
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Negative consequences of visual impairment in children include irreversible vision loss, decreased interest in academic activities, lower academic achievement, and psychological stress. Since visual impairment in adults is associated with demographic factors, the purpose of this research is to investigate the influence of gender and race/ethnicity on visual impairment among first-graders.
Between 1999 and 2006, all the first-graders in three Southern California districts were screened for visual impairment. In this cross-sectional analysis, we investigated the relationships between the presence of visual impairment (uncorrected visual acuity (VA) worse than 20/40 in at least one eye) to race/ethnicity and gender using Chi-square tests and adjusted logistic regression models.
A total of 4,345 (54.61%), 2,284 (28.70%), and 1328 (16.69%) children were located in the Hawthorne, Lawndale, and Rosemead districts, respectively. 3,982 children (50.04%) were male. The majority (5,326 or 66.93%) of children were Latino; 1,213 (15.24%) were black; 1,103 (13.86%) were Asian; and 315 (3.96%) were non-Hispanic white. A total of 441 out of 7,957 (5.54%) had VA worse than 20/40 in at least one eye. Girls were less likely than boys to be visually impaired after adjustment for race/ethnicity [OR=0.821, 95% CI: 0.677-0.996, p=0.0450]. Approximately 6.03% of Latino, 5.28% of black, 4.08% of Asian, and 3.49% of white children were visually impaired (chi square statistic = 0.0224). Latino and black children tended to be more likely to be visually impaired compared to white children when adjusting for gender [Latino children, OR=1.773, 95% CI: 0.961-3.271, p=0.0666; black children, OR=1.551, 95% CI: 0.808-2.978, p=0.1870].
This population-based study shows that race/ethnicity is an important predictor in the prevalence of uncorrected visual impairment in children.
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