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Asthenopia in schoolchildren

Authors Vilela M, Castagno V, Meucci R, Fassa A

Received 19 March 2015

Accepted for publication 4 June 2015

Published 28 August 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1595—1603


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Manuel AP Vilela,1,2 Victor D Castagno,2,3 Rodrigo D Meucci,3,4 Anaclaudia G Fassa3,4

1Postdoctoral Program in Epidemiology, 2Department of Specialized Medicine – Ophthalmology, 3Doctoral Program in Epidemiology, 4Department of Social Medicine, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Objective: To assess asthenopia prevalence and associated factors in schoolchildren aged 6–16.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of all children attending the first to eighth grades at two public schools in the urban region of a medium-sized town in Southern Brazil between April and December 2012. A questionnaire on socioeconomic and cultural matters was answered by parents, while the children answered a questionnaire on asthenopia-related symptoms. The children underwent a complete visual function examination, including measurement of visual acuity, refraction test, cover test, stereopsis, heterophoria assessment, near point of convergence, and accommodative convergence/accommodation ratio.
Results: Asthenopia prevalence was 24.7% in a total sample of 964 children. Visual acuity of 20/25 or better in both eyes was found in 92.8% of the children. The stereopsis test was normal in 99.4% of them, and some kind of strabismus was found in 3.5%. About 37.8% had astigmatism, 71.6% had mild hyperopia, 13.6% had moderate hyperopia, and 6.1% were myopic. Near point of convergence was abnormal in 14.0% of the children, and the accommodative convergence/accommodation ratio was found to be altered in 17.1% of them.
Conclusion: Children and adolescents have expressive prevalence of asthenopia. The prevalence of visual function alterations does not differ from the general population, and, therefore, they are not prerequisites. It is very important that its mechanisms and risk factors be better defined. Health professionals need to be on the lookout for complaints of visual fatigue because of its potential to influence learning and school performance.

Keywords: asthenopia, eyestrain, fatigue, visual, visual fatigue, eye fatigue

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