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Y. Zheng, Q. Lu, B. Sun, T. Cui, A. Hu, J. Chen, J. Shi; A Population-Based Study of Visual Impairment Among Pre-School Children in Beijing: The Beijing Study of Visual Impairment in Children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):124.
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To evaluate the prevalence and causes of visual impairment among Chinese children aged 3 to 6 years in Beijing.
Population-based prevalence survey. Presenting and pinhole visual acuity were tested using picture optotypes or, in children with pinhole vision < 6/18, a Snellen tumbling E chart. Comprehensive eye examinations and cycloplegic refraction were carried out for children with pinhole vision < 6/18 in the betterseeing eye.
All examinations were completed on 17,699 children aged 3 to 6 years (95.3% of sample). Subjects with bilateral correctable low vision (presenting vision < 6/18 correctable to > 6/18) numbered 57 (0.322%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.237% to 0.403%), while 14 (0.079%; 95% CI, 0.038% to 0.120%) had bilateral uncorrectable low vision (best-corrected vision of < 6/18 and > 3/60), and 5 subjects (0.028%; 95% CI, 0.004% to 0.054%) were bilaterally blind (best-corrected acuity<3/60). The etiology of 76 cases of visual impairment included: refractive error in 57 children (75%), hereditary factors (microphthalmos, congenital cataract, congenital motor nystagmus, albinism, and optic nerve disease) in 13 children (17.1 %), amblyopia in 3 children (3.95%), and cortical blindness in 1 child (1.3%). The cause of visual impairment could not be established in 2 (2.63%) children. The prevalence of visual impairment did not differ by gender, but correctable low vision was significantly (P < .0001) more common among urban as compared with rural children.
The leading causes of visual impairment among Chinese preschool-aged children are refractive error and hereditary eye diseases. A higher prevalence of refractive error is already present among urban as compared with rural children in this preschool population.
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