Original Research

Prevalence and risk factors for myopia among school children in Aba, Nigeria

Uchenna C. Atowa, Alvin J. Munsamy, Samuel O. Wajuihian
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 76, No 1 | a369 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v76i1.369 | © 2017 Uchenna C. Atowa, Alvin J. Munsamy, Samuel O. Wajuihian | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 August 2016 | Published: 28 February 2017

About the author(s)

Uchenna C. Atowa, College of Applied Medical Science, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia
Alvin J. Munsamy, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Samuel O. Wajuihian, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Aim: To study the prevalence of myopia among school children in Aba, Nigeria.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in public and private (primary and secondary) schools. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used for selecting participants aged between 8 and 15 years from 12 schools in Aba, Nigeria. Data were analysed for 1197 children who underwent a comprehensive eye examination. The children were divided according to the following criteria: age groups (group 1 [8–11 years] or group 2 [12–15 years]), gender (male or female), level of education (primary or secondary) and type of school (public or private). Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent refraction (SER) ≤ -0.50 D in the poorer eye.

Results: The prevalence of myopia was estimated to be 2.7%. Of the 96 children with refractive error, 78.1% were uncorrected. In using logistic regression analysis, risk of developing myopia was associated with older age groups (odds ratio [OR]: 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16–9.11; p < 0.010) and higher level of education (OR: 1.73; 95% CI, 1.05–2.86; p < 0.030). There was no significant difference in myopia prevalence between male and female children (p = 0.89).

Conclusion: Although the prevalence of myopia and overall prevalence of refractive error in school children in Aba were low, the high prevalence of uncorrected refractive error is a significant public health problem. An effective and sustainable children’s vision screening programme is needed to prevent visual impairment and blindness.


myopia; prevalence; refractive error; uncorrected refractive error; school children


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