Purpose: The aim of the study was (1) to determine the need for spectacles in children in Southern India with coloboma, microphthalmos and microcornea, (2) to describe their refractive errors and (3) to assess their needs for low vision aids (LVAs).
Methods: Children with congenital eye anomalies were recruited from special education for the blind, schools for the mentally handicapped, community-based rehabilitation programmes and hospital records in Andhra Pradesh, India. All those with at least light perception vision (PL) in one eye and who had navigational vision were refracted. Those whose distance vision in their better eye improved with refraction were prescribed spectacles. Those unable to read N10 were assessed for LVAs for near. Those with distance visual acuity of < 6/18 in the better eye were assessed for telescopes to aid distance vision.
Results: Ninety-nine children with coloboma, microcornea or microphthalmos had functional vision. Eight unilateral cases were excluded. Ninety-one bilateral cases were refracted and assessed for LVAs. The vision in 52 children (57%) improved in the better-seeing eye by 1 or more lines of Snellen acuity with spectacles. Spectacles were prescribed most frequently for myopia associated with choroidal coloboma. After refraction, all 19 children with a visual acuity of 6/18 or better could read N10, and 43 of the 72 children (60%) with a visual acuity of < 6/18 to PL with functional vision could read N10 unaided, or with distance correction. A further 6 (8%) reached this level with magnifiers. Thirteen children (18%) were given telescopes.
Conclusion: Children with congenital anomalies of the eye and functional vision benefit from refraction and low vision services.