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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 240-245

Comparison of ocular pathologies between children attending rural and urban schools in south india: A retrospective analysis


1 Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Vivekananda Mission Ashram Netra Niramay Niketan, Haldia, West Bengal, India
2 Departments of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismology, Aravind Eye Hospital and PG Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Glaucoma Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and PG Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
4 Department of Cataract and IOL Services, Aravind Eye Hospital and PG Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
5 Department of Biostatistics, Aravind Eye Hospital and PG Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Sabyasachi Chakrabarty
Vivekananda Mission Ashram Netra Niramay Niketan, Thakur Bari Road, Rampur, PO Chaitanyapur, Haldia, Purba Medinipur – 721 645, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/tjosr.tjosr_26_22

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Aims: To assess the differences in ocular morbidity with/without visual impairment between rural and urban school-going children using a two-step screening strategy. Methods: Data obtained by a hospital team from school camps conducted between the 1st of February 2019 and the 31st of December 2019, in schools with a strength of at least 1,000 students were reviewed retrospectively. The differences in ocular pathologies between the rural and urban cohorts were evaluated. A P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Out of 25,132 students (nurban = 12,562; nrural = 12,570), 14.44% (nurban = 1,585; nrural = 2,044; P < 0.001) were selected for evaluation by the hospital team after a primary screening by their class teachers. A statistically significant difference was noted in the frequency of refractive errors (urban = 6.8%; rural = 6.0%; P = 0.01), allergic conjunctivitis (urban = 0.2%; rural = 0.05%; P = 0.001), and amblyopia (urban = 0.03%; rural = 0.12%; P = 0.009) between urban and rural children. Simple and compound myopic astigmatism were significantly more common in urban children (p < 0.001 and 0.03 respectively). There was no significant difference in the incidence of spectacle use (P = 0.11) between the two cohorts. A Cochran--Armitage trend test revealed a statistically significant increase in the proportion of myopia with age among the children evaluated by the hospital team (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Allergic eye disease and myopic astigmatism are commoner in urban children. Routine ophthalmic screening is required to identify uncorrected refractive errors and amblyopia, especially in rural school children.


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