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Prevalence And Associated Factors Of Visual Impairment Among School-Age Children In Bahir Dar City, Northwest Ethiopia

Authors Merrie YA, Tegegne MM, Munaw MB, Alemu HW

Received 22 April 2019

Accepted for publication 5 October 2019

Published 8 November 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 135—143


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Mr Simon Berry

Yosef Antehun Merrie,1 Mebratu Mulusew Tegegne,2 Minychil Bantihun Munaw,2 Haile Woretaw Alemu2

1Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; 2Department of Optometry, School of Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Mebratu Mulusew Tegegne
Department of Optometry, School of Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopa
PO Box 196 Email

Introduction: Visual impairment (VI) is one of the major public health problems in the world. It is highly prevalent among children in sub-Saharan countries, including Ethiopia. Worldwide, the magnitude of VI among school-age children is 1%–10%. However, there was limited information regarding the prevalence and associated factors of VI among school-age children in the study area, which is essential to plan and implement appropriate interventions.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and associated factors of VI among school-age children livin g in Bahir Dar city, northwest Ethiopia.
Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was done on a sample of 632 school-age children selected by multistage sampling in Bahir Dar from April 30 to May 15, 2018. Data were collected through interviews and physical examinations. Face-to-face interviews were done with a pretested semistructured questionnaire. Physical examinations were done with visual acuity measures and assessment of ocular pathology by optometrists. Data were entered into Epi Info 7 and exported to and analyzed with SPSS 20. Binary logistic regression was fitted, and variables with P<0.05 in the multivariate model were considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 601 study subjects were included in this study, giving a response rate of 95.2%. The median age was 13 (IQR 11–16) years, and 303 (50.3%) were male. Prevalence of VI was 52 (8.7%, 95% CI 6.2%–10.7%). In multivariate analysis, prematurity [AOR 2.8 (95% CI 1.19–6.83)], admission to a neonatal intensive-care unit (AOR 5.5, 95% CI 2.01–15.15), having a parent with VI (AOR 1.8, 95% CI 0.13–0.97), watching television from <2 m (AOR 8.7, 95% CI 1.49–18.24), and mobile-phone exposure >4 hours per day (AOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.32–4.45) were factors significantly associated with VI.
Conclusion: The prevalence of VI among school-age children in Bahir Dar was significant. Premature birth, admission to a neonatal intensive-care unit, having a parent with VI, watching television from <2 m, and mobile exposure >4 hours per day were significantly associated.

Keywords: school-age children, northwest Ethiopia, visual impairment

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