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Prevalence of refractive errors in children in India: a systematic review

Sethu, S., Seelam, B., Nukella, P. B. , Modi, A., Ali, R. & Keay, L. (2018). Prevalence of refractive errors in children in India: a systematic review. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 101(4), pp. 495-503. doi: 10.1111/cxo.12689


Uncorrected refractive error is an avoidable cause of visual impairment which affects children in India. The objective of this review is to estimate the prevalence of refractive errors in children ≤ 15 years of age. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses guidelines were followed in this review. A detailed literature search was performed to include all population and school‐based studies published from India between January 1990 and January 2017, using the Cochrane Library, Medline and Embase. The quality of the included studies was assessed based on a critical appraisal tool developed for systematic reviews of prevalence studies. Four population‐based studies and eight school‐based studies were included. The overall prevalence of refractive error per 100 children was 8.0 (CI: 7.4–8.1) and in schools it was 10.8 (CI: 10.5–11.2). The population‐based prevalence of myopia, hyperopia (≥ +2.00 D) and astigmatism was 5.3 per cent, 4.0 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively. Combined refractive error and myopia alone were higher in urban areas compared to rural areas (odds ratio [OR]: 2.27 [CI: 2.09–2.45]) and (OR: 2.12 [CI: 1.79–2.50]), respectively. The prevalence of combined refractive errors and myopia alone in schools was higher among girls than boys (OR: 1.2 [CI: 1.1–1.3] and OR: 1.1 [CI: 1.1–1.2]), respectively. However, hyperopia was more prevalent among boys than girls in schools (OR: 2.1 [CI: 1.8–2.4]). Refractive error in children in India is a major public health problem and requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders including the health care workforce, education professionals and parents, to manage this issue.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sheeladevi, S. , Seelam, B. , Nukella, P. B., Modi, A. , Ali, R. and Keay, L. (2018), Prevalence of refractive errors in children in India: a systematic review. Clin Exp Optom, 101: 495-503., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: Children’s Vision, Hyperopia, Myopia, Prevalence, Refractive errors
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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