Original Research

The impact of uncorrected refractive error and visual impairment on the quality of life amongst school-going children in Sekhukhune district (Limpopo), South Africa

Tshubelela S.S. Magakwe, Rekha Hansraj, Zamandoda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 81, No 1 | a620 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v81i1.620 | © 2022 Tshubelela S.S. Magakwe, Rekha Hansraj, Zamadonda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2020 | Published: 25 March 2022

About the author(s)

Tshubelela S.S. Magakwe, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Rekha Hansraj, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Zamandoda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Uncorrected refractive error (URE) and subsequent visual impairment (VI) is expected to have an impact on the quality of life (QoL) amongst schoolchildren.

Aim: This study aimed to determine the impact of URE and VI on the QoL amongst school-going children aged 14–18 years.

Settings: The study was performed at Sekhukhune district in the Limpopo province, South Africa.

Methods: The tool used to assess the QoL was the National Eye Institute Quality of Life Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25). A modified refractive error study in children (RESC) protocol was employed to determine the value of URE and VI. The tests performed included Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution (LogMAR) visual acuity, cycloplegic autorefraction, binocular motor function tests, media and fundus examination.

Results: A total of 154 learners, aged 14–18 years completed the NEI-VFQ-25, which was offered in an interview format. A total of 56 learners (36.3%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 14.9–27.9]) had URE and VI. Children with URE and VI scored low on the NEI-VFQ-25 as compared with those without URE and VI.

Conclusion: Uncorrected refractive error has an impact on the QoL of learners in the greater Sekhukhune district. This calls for policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in basic education to prioritise programmes that seek to address the visual health of scholars in rural schools.


Keywords

uncorrected refractive error; visual impairment; quality of life; school-going children; learner eye health; National Eye Institute Quality of Life Questionnaire

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