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Keywords:

  • African children;
  • child;
  • corneal radius;
  • myopia;
  • stereopsis

Abstract

Background:  The prevalence of refractive errors in school-age children in Morocco was assessed.

Methods:  A total of 545 children (300 boys and 245 girls, between 6 and 16 years of age) attending school were examined to assess their refractive errors in a field study in Morocco (North Africa). The examination included autorefraction under cycloplegia and visual acuity, stereopsis and anterior corneal-radius measurements .

Results:  We found a low prevalence of myopia (≤−0.5 D SE [spherical equivalent] in at least one eye), i.e. only 6.1%. The prevalence of hyperopia (≥2.0 D SE in at least one eye) was 18.3%. Astigmatism (≤−0.75 D of cylinder in at least one eye) was found in 23.5% of these children. The low prevalence of large refractive errors makes visual acuity in these children very good. In general, the corneal radii did not significantly vary with age. There were no significant differences between the distribution of refractive errors in these children according to gender but there were with respect to age.

Conclusions:  There was a low prevalence of myopia in these African children, astigmatism being the most frequent refractive error. The mean refractive errors found were low, and therefore visual acuity was high in these children.