The Prevalence of Visual Impairment and Refractive Errors among a Youth Population in Mozambique: Evidence of the Need for Intervention

Children (Basel). 2021 Oct 6;8(10):892. doi: 10.3390/children8100892.


Visual impairment (VI) can significantly interfere in the child's daily activities and quality of life, having a negative effect on their development and learning. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of VI and associated demographic factors in students examined during the program "Moçambique te vejo melhor". This study was cross-sectional and retrospective, based on the 2018/19 edition of the program. Eye examinations were performed in secondary school students, aged between 12 and 20 years, of five districts in Nampula province. The examination included visual acuity, non-cycloplegic refraction and assessment of the anterior and posterior segment and ocular adnexa. The prevalence of uncorrected, presenting and best-corrected VI found was 18.3%, 10.8%, and 5.0%, respectively. Refractive error (RE) had a prevalence of 24.7%, and the age groups between 15-17 years and 18-20 years were significantly associated with myopia (with OR: 4.9 and OR: 8.8, respectively), as well as the 11th and 12th grade (OR: 8.1 and OR: 10.7, respectively), and Malema district had association with myopia (ORa: 0.4) and hyperopia (ORa: 0.4 and OR: 0.3) as a protective factor. The prevalence of RE and VI was relatively high, showing the need for greater intervention at the school level.

Keywords: Mozambique; refractive error; schoolchildren; visual impairment.