Prevalence of refractive errors and the factors related to it among madrassa students in district Sialkot.
Objectives: Refractive errors (RE) comprise visual impairment arising from the decreased ability of eye to focus light on retina that has become one of the most common problems among school going children and is the second leading cause of treatable blindness among them.1 RE remains unquantified in Pakistan, especially among madrassa students who are further neglected due to lack of school health services. Keeping this in mind the following study was conducted to find the prevalence of RE among Madrassa students aged 5 to 15 years in Sialkot and the factors related to it. Study Design: A cross-sectional study. Setting: Out of three registered madrassas in Sialkot city, only one allowed access to the team. The team consisted of an ophthalmology professor, two opticians, four interviewers and the researchers. Period: Six months from February 2018 till July 2018. Material & Methods: This cross-sectional study was designed by randomly selecting 168 students out of a total of 520 madrassa students who were all tested for RE, the selected students were then interviewed on a semi structured, pre-tested closed ended questionnaire after seeking permission from the parents and madrassa heads. Factors like illumination, distance while reading and watching screen were recorded on a checklist. The data was analyzed in SPSS 21 and P value <0.05 was taken significant. Results: 31.5% of students had errors of refraction. 81.1% were myopic, 7.6% were hyperopic and 11.3% were astigmatic. Near distance reading/screen, positive family history, longer time studying in madrassa and insufficient illumination were the significant factors related to RE. Conclusion: This study showed a dire need of awareness in screening the potential cause for blindness among madrassa students.