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Original article

Prevalence and types of refractive errors, and spectacle coverage in Sri Lankan adults: The Sri Lanka National survey of blindness and visual impairment

Authors:

C. Gilbert ,

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, IN
About C.
Department of Clinical Research
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G. V. S. Murthy,

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, GB
About G. V. S.

Department of Clinical Research

 

Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, India
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E. Schmidt,

Sightsavers , Haywards Health, GB
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K. Edussuriya,

General Hospital, Kandy, LK
About K.
Department of Ophthalmology
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R. P. Kumara,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About R. P.
Survey Ophthalmologists
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S. A. H. K. Wimalarathne,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About S. A. H. K.
Survey Ophthalmologists
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A. H. Athapattu,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About A. H.
Survey Optometrists
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M. D. Priyangani,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About M. D.
Survey Optometrists
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K. R. T. C. Bandara,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About K. R. T. C.
Survey Optometrists
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C. Rathnayake,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About C.
Survey Optometrists
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Y. G. U. Jayarathne,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About Y. G. U.
Survey Optometrists
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H. B. Pant

Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, IN
About H. B.
behalf of the Sri Lanka National Blindness, Visual Impairment and Disability Steering Committee
and Survey Team
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Abstract

Introduction

 Uncorrected refractive errors are the commonest cause of visual impairment globally. Despite this, the proportion of affected individuals who wear spectacles can be low, particularly in low and middle- income countries. No data were available for Sri Lanka.

 

Objectives

To estimate the prevalence of refractive errors and investigate their risk factors among adults aged 40 years and above. Another purpose was to calculate spectacle coverage and identify subgroups with low coverage.

 

Methods

Cluster random sampling was used to obtain a nationally representative sample. Presenting distance visual acuity was measured using a logMAR chart, with distance spectacle correction if usually worn. All underwent autorefraction and an optician measured best-corrected visual acuity after subjective refraction. Participants who had undergone cataract surgery were excluded. Spectacle coverage was assessed amongst participants with a visual acuity of <6/12 in the better eye due to refractive error who attended the examination site with spectacles.

 

Results

5,779/6,713 (86.1%) enumerated adults were examined; 5,179 had refraction data. 67% had a refractive error: hyperopia 49.6%; myopia 17.4%. Refractive errors increased with age. Being aged 60 years and above and Sinhala ethnic group were independent risk factors. Spectacle coverage was 17.7% overall, being lower in females and the non-literate. Based on the findings, 1.66 million adults require spectacles for distance correction.

 

Conclusions

Refractive errors are very common in Sri Lankan adults, and there is a large unmet need for spectacles. Affordable services for refractive errors need to be scaled up, focusing on the most underserved subgroups in the population.

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v63i5.8740
How to Cite: Gilbert, C., Murthy, G.V.S., Schmidt, E., Edussuriya, K., Kumara, R.P., Wimalarathne, S.A.H.K., Athapattu, A.H., Priyangani, M.D., Bandara, K.R.T.C., Rathnayake, C., Jayarathne, Y.G.U. and Pant, H.B., 2018. Prevalence and types of refractive errors, and spectacle coverage in Sri Lankan adults: The Sri Lanka National survey of blindness and visual impairment. Ceylon Medical Journal, 63(5), pp.s33–s39. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v63i5.8740
Published on 31 Oct 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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