Purchase this article with an account.
C.E. Clifford, J.M. Miller, E.M. Harvey, V. Dobson; Impact of a Population–Based Vision Screening Program on Spectacle Wear Among Native American Children . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):688.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: A high prevalence of refractive astigmatism is present among members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a Native American Tribe in southern Arizona. Because uncorrected astigmatism can lead to the development of amblyopia (poor visual acuity even while wearing eyeglasses), early detection and correction are essential to the prevention of vision disorders among this population. From 1997 to 2001, we conducted a study of astigmatism and amblyopia in Tohono O’odham preschool (Head Start) children. As part of the program, parents received information on the importance of eyeglass wear in children with astigmatism, and preschool children who required eyeglasses were provided with them free of charge. The purpose of the present study is to examine the impact of the preschool intervention on spectacle wear among older children from the same population. These children were not directly targeted through the preschool program. Methods: Vision screening was conducted in 259 children in grades 5 and 6 in 1997 and 238 children in grades 5 and 6 in 2001 using a Retinomax K–Plus Autorefractor. Testers recorded whether each child arrived at the screening wearing glasses. Results: Prevalence of high astigmatism (RE or LE >1 D) was 39% in 1997 and 40% in 2001. Statistical analysis indicated a significant increase in the rate of spectacle wear among 5th and 6th grade children (6% versus 12%, p<0.03) following intervention in the Head Start population. Among the high astigmats, the rate of eyeglasses wear also doubled (11% in 1997 versus 22% in 2001, p<0.06). Conclusions: A significant increase in the rate of spectacle wear among 5th and 6th grade Tohono O’odham children suggests that community education conducted through the preschool program may have increased community awareness of vision problems, which may have resulted in an increased number of children seeking and receiving eye care. Despite a significant improvement in the rate of glasses wear, the proportion of astigmatic children wearing glasses continues to be very low. Further efforts are needed to increase the rate of spectacle wear among children of this population.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only