Original Research

Near vision anomalies in Black high school children in Empangeni, South Africa: A pilot study

Sam O. Wajuihian, Rekha Hansraj
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 73, No 1 | a4 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v73i1.4 | © 2014 Sam O. Wajuihian, Rekha Hansraj | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 August 2014 | Published: 04 August 2014

About the author(s)

Sam O. Wajuihian, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Rekha Hansraj, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: The ability to read efficiently and comfortably is important in the intellectual development and academic performance of a child. Some children experience difficulties when
reading due to symptoms related to near vision anomalies.
Aim: To explore the feasibility of conducting a large study to determine the prevalence, distribution and characteristics of near vision anomalies in high school children in Empangeni, South Africa.
Methods: The study was a cross sectional descriptive pilot study designed to provide preliminary data on prevalence, distribution
and characteristics of near vision anomalies in a sample of high school-children in South Africa. Study participants comprised 65 Black children (30 males and 35 females), ages ranged between 13 and 19 years with a mean age and standard deviation of 17 ± 1.43 years. The visual functions evaluated and the techniques used included visual acuity (LogMAR acuity chart), refractive error (autorefractor and subjective refraction), heterophoria (von Graefe), near point of convergence (push-in-to-double), amplitude of accommodation (push-in-to-blur) accommodation facility (± 2 D flipper lenses), relative accommodation, accommodation response (monocular estimation method) and fusional vergences (step vergence with prism bars). Possible associations between symptoms and near vision anomalies were explored using a 20-point symptoms questionnaire.
Results: Prevalence estimates were: Myopia 4.8%, hyperopia 1.6% and astigmatism 1.6%.  For accommodative anomalies, 1.6% had accommodative insufficiency while 1.6% had accommodative infacility. For convergence anomalies, 3.2% had receded near point of convergence, 16% had low suspect convergence insufficiency, no participant had high suspect convergence insufficiency, 1.6% had definite convergence insufficiency and 3.2% had convergence excess. Female participants reported more symptoms than the males and the association between clinical measures and symptoms were not remarkable.
Conclusion: Although the overall prevalence of near vision anomalies was low,  convergence anomalies were found to be more prevalent than refractive and accommodative anomalies.
Symptoms were not significantly associated with near vision anomalies.  Overall, the pilot project reveals that it is feasible to conduct the study on a large scale with minor modifications.
Identification and referrals for near vision anomalies are important steps towards diagnosis and treatment which will minimize discomfort with reading and subsequent poor performance
which may be associated with such anomalies.


Refractive errors; convergence insufficiency; convergence excess; accommodative insufficiency, accommodative excess, near vision anomalies in school children


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Crossref Citations

1. Accommodative Anomalies in a Sample of Black High School Students in South Africa
Samuel Otabor Wajuihian, Rekha Hansraj
Ophthalmic Epidemiology  vol: 23  issue: 5  first page: 316  year: 2016  
doi: 10.3109/09286586.2016.1155715