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PURPOSE: To evaluate and implement a school based child vision screening program, which would identify the causes of blurred vision, improve vision with glasses, and increase teachers’ awareness of eye care.
METHODS: Primary school vision screenings took place in 155 schools in two districts of Oudomxay Province in November and December 2016. The children were initially screened by teachers trained in vision screening using Snellen chart at 6 meters and trained in how to prevent conditions such as conjunctivitis and eye injury. The results of the screening vision tests of all children were sent to Oudomxay Provincial Hospital Eye Unit by teachers. A team comprised of one ophthalmologist and one optometrist followed up with students identified with vision impairment at the schools to perform additional vision tests and eye exams. Children confirmed with refractive errors were provided glasses and those diagnosed with cataract and glaucoma were referred to the Ophthalmology Unit of the hospital.
RESULTS: In total, 16,982 children (F 8,273) aged 5-14 years old were screened. The vision impairment with available correction (one and both eyes) of 133 children (0.78%), and included 40.60% of children requiring spectacle provision. Other ocular abnormalities included corneal scar (32.22%), posterior segment disease (23.08%), cataract (3.76%), and glaucoma (1.50%). 155 primary schools teachers were trained in vision screening. The vision of 45 children was improved with eyeglasses for refractive error. This number is lower compared to that of neighboring countries.
CONCLUSION: Trained school teachers can play an important role in the prevention of childhood blindness.
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