Original Research

Knowledge, attitudes and practices towards refractive error amongst students

Naimah Ebrahim Khan, Misbah Mahomedy, Lungelo Mngadi, Zaakirah Moola, Zahraa Moola, Gcinile Ndwandwe, Ayanda S.M. Ntombela
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 81, No 1 | a633 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v81i1.633 | © 2022 Naimah Ebrahim Khan, Misbah Mahomedy, Lungelo Mngadi, Zaakirah Moola, Zahraa Moosa, Gcinile Ndwandwe, Ayanda S.M. Ntombela | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 November 2020 | Published: 27 June 2022

About the author(s)

Naimah Ebrahim Khan, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Misbah Mahomedy, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Lungelo Mngadi, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Zaakirah Moola, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Zahraa Moola, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Gcinile Ndwandwe, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ayanda S.M. Ntombela, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Uncorrected refractive error is one of the leading causes of visual impairment. Understanding of the barriers to spectacle usage and attitudes of students towards spectacle use and management strategies can help improve population knowledge and develop school-based programmes to address refractive error.

Aim: This study aimed to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of university students towards refractive error.

Setting: A large university in South Africa.

Methods: A quantitative descriptive study was performed via a validated self-administered questionnaire. The survey included questions regarding the knowledge of the participants current status of vision, knowledge on causes of poor vision, accessibility of eye healthcare facilities and attitudes towards spectacle use.

Results: Knowledge of participants with respect to the cause of poor vision amongst their peers revealed 63% (n = 189) reporting that digital devices are the major cause of poor vision amongst students, followed by myopia (n = 166) and lastly long-sightedness (n = 117). The majority of participants had adequate knowledge regarding methods of correcting poor vision with 95% listing spectacles as a method of correction followed by contact lenses (n = 250) and surgery (n = 203). There were 29% of participants who reported using spectacles all the time and 22% who reported using spectacles some of the time.

Conclusion: The university students are knowledgeable about the causes of poor vision amongst students. Some students have refractive error but display poor attitude and practice towards spectacle wear because they do not wear spectacles as often as they should. Awareness around eye care and spectacle use must be created.


Keywords

uncorrected refractive error; visual impairment; spectacles; university students; knowledge; attitudes; perceptions

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