Original Research

Symptomatic vergence disorders in junior high school children in Ghana

Charles Darko-Takyi, Naimah E. Khan, Urvashni Nirghini
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 75, No 1 | a333 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v75i1.333 | © 2016 Charles Darko-Takyi, Naimah E. Khan, Urvashni Nirghini | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 October 2015 | Published: 26 July 2016

About the author(s)

Charles Darko-Takyi, Department of Optometry, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Naimah E. Khan, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Urvashni Nirghini, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: Optometrists in Ghana are hampered in performing comprehensive binocular vision assessments, because of the lack of appropriate instruments leading to a paucity of data on vergence disorders and their association with asthenopia among Ghanaian school children.

Aim: To establish the prevalence of symptomatic vergence disorders among junior high school (JHS) children in Cape Coast Metropolis, Ghana, in their habitual (vision) states and investigate if there were any associations between these disorders and specific asthenopic symptoms.

Methods: A prospective cross-sectional school-based study using a multistage sample of 627 participants aged 12–17 years from JHSs in Cape Coast Metropolis. Participants completed a reliable asthenopic symptoms questionnaire and 220 participants who expressed two or more severe or very severe symptoms were selected for comprehensive binocular vision assessment in their habitual vision state.

Results: The prevalence of symptomatic vergence disorders among JHS children in Cape Coast Metropolis was 14.8%. For specific symptomatic vergence disorders, the prevalence was: 1.4% basic esophoria, 1.4% basic exophoria, 8.6% convergence insufficiency, 1.8% convergence excess, 0.8% fusional vergence dysfunctions and 0.8% divergence excess. No participant had symptomatic divergence insufficiency. The study revealed significant associations between some specific symptomatic vergence disorders and specific asthenopic symptoms even though all of these asthenopic symptoms overlapped in other vergence disorders.

Conclusion: Presenting complaints of specific asthenopic symptoms does not differentiate between specific types of vergence disorders. A comprehensive binocular vision assessment is vital in the diagnosis and management of these disorders to relieve asthenopia.


prevalence, association, vergence disorders, asthenopic symptoms, habitual state, Ghanaian children


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