Vision screening in children: Is 7-9 years of age a threshold for visual impairment?

Pak J Med Sci. Sep-Oct 2016;32(5):1194-1198. doi: 10.12669/pjms.325.10367.

Abstract

Objective: The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of decreased visual acuity, strabismus, and spectacle wear in children aged 5 to 13 years.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in primary education schools. A total of 1938 participants, including 940 females (48.5%) and 998 males (51.5%) with a mean age 8.96 ± 2.31 (5-13 years old), were screened. The comparisons were performed with gender, age, and age groups. The children attended to vision screening were assigned to three age groups as 5-6 years, 7-9 years, and 10-13 years.

Results: The prevalence of the parameters was detected as decreased visual acuity 12.4%, strabismus 2.2%, and spectacle wear 6.9%. The prevalence of decreased visual acuity was significantly higher in girls and in children aged 7-9 years old (p = 0.013, p < 0.001). The prevalence of spectacle wear was significantly higher in girls and in children aged 7-9 years old (p = 0.019, p < 0.001). There was a visual acuity decrease in 33 of 106 (31.1%) children despite wearing own spectacle. There was no significant difference among three age groups for strabismus.

Conclusion: Increased prevalence of decreased visual acuity, as well as the higher frequency of spectacle wear in children at ages of 7-9 years old may point out a threshold for visual impairment.

Keywords: Eyeglasses; Strabismus; Vision disorders; Vision screening; Visual acuity.