The status of refractive errors in elementary school children in South Jeolla Province, South Korea
Jung Un Jang,1 Inn-Jee Park2
1Department of Optometry, Eulji University, Seongnam, 2Department of Optometry, Kaya University, Gimhae, South Korea
Purpose: To assess the prevalence of refractive errors among elementary school children in South Jeolla Province of South Korea.
Methods: The subjects were aged 8–13 years; a total of 1,079 elementary school children from Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, were included. In all participants, uncorrected visual acuity and objective and subjective refractions were determined using auto Ref-Keratometer and phoropter. A spherical equivalent of -0.50 diopter (D) or worse was defined as myopia, +0.50 D or more was defined as hyperopia, and a cylinder refraction greater than 0.75 D was defined as astigmatism.
Results: Out of 1,079 elementary school children, the prevalence of uncorrected, best-corrected, and corrected visual acuity with own spectacles of 20/40 or worse in the better eye was 26.1%, 0.4%, and 20.2%, respectively. The uncorrected visual acuity was 20/200 or worse in the better eye in 5.7% of school children, and 5.2% of them already wore corrective spectacles. The prevalence of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism was 46.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 43.56–49.5), 6.2% (95% CI: 4.92–7.81), and 9.4% (95% CI: 7.76–11.25), respectively.
Conclusion: The present study reveals a considerably higher prevalence of refractive error among elementary school children in South Jeolla Province of South Korea, exceeding 50% of subjects. The prevalence of myopia in the school children in Korea is similar to many other countries including People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. This may indicate that genetics and educational influences, such as studying and learning, may play a role in the progression of myopia in Korean elementary school children.
Keywords: refractive error, elementary school children, visual acuity, myopia, astigmatism
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