Survey of refractive errors among Buddhist scripture, Dhamma-Bali and regular school of Buddhist novices in the Bangkok metropolitan area

Nanthavisit, U.; Sornchai, J.; Jenchitr, W.

Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 91 Suppl. 1: S24-S29


ISSN/ISBN: 0125-2208
PMID: 18672587
Document Number: 15122
Refractive errors that affect learning are common eye problems in children. Eye-screening for refractive errors in the children population is accepted as a cost-effective method in the prevention of such problems. The Department of Ophthalmology, Priest Hospital, conducted a visual screening program for the novices of the Buddhist Scripture Schools. To conduct the visual screening, evaluate eye health status and ocular abnormalities; to correct refractive errors among school novices of the Buddhist Scripture Schools. A survey of refractive errors was conducted in 76 Buddhist Scripture schools in the Bangkok Metropolitan area between October 2005 and September 2007. The novices whose ages were between 9 and 20 years were included in the present study. Refraction and eye examinations were performed by ophthalmic nurses, optometrists, and the health personnel team, resulting in novices with refractive errors receiving custom-made eyeglasses, without charge along with eye health education. The present survey was conducted during public holidays. Two thousand six hundred fifty eight novices of the Buddhist Scripture were initially screened, leading to refractive errors being identified and corrected in 498 (18.74 %) of the cases. Of the corrected cases, 465 (93.37 %) needed eyeglasses, with the most common cause of refractive error being myopia. Three hundred and thirteen (62.85 %) eye diseases were found in 158 (5.94 %) of the novices, with pterygium and pinguecula being the most common diseases found in 51 (32.27 %), and amblyopia (lazy eye) in seven (4.43 %), while 75.32% of the novices had good visual acuity with no eye disease. The authors suggested that the percentage of novices with amblyopia could be reduced to less than 4.43% if it were to be detected earlier From the present study, 498 (18.74 %) of the novices had refractive errors, and the 465 (93.37 %) of them needed and received eyeglasses. Furthermore, after having received the glasses, they reported that they were satisfied with a much better vision and ability to study in classes. Due to being in a low-age group, they had no serious eye diseases.

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