Prevalence and Risk Factors of Myopia: A Case Study Of Senior High School Students In Sekyere East District Of Ghana

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Myopia is a global public health problem leading to visual impairment and blinding complications. It is the most common type of refractive error and is a complex trait including both genetic and environmental factors. Numerous studies have been conducted to elucidate the aetiology of myopia. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of myopia and the effect of reading, writing outside class and childhood stress on the occurrence of myopia among senior high school students in Sekyere East District of Ghana. The study was a cross-sectional study of students attending senior high schools in the Sekyere East District of Ghana. Out of the six senior high schools in the district, three were randomly selected and students were selected from these schools by systematic sampling method. Questionnaires were administered to all students and non-cycloplegic refraction was carried out for all students who failed the plus one blur test or with improvement of vision with a pin hole on the Snellen chat. Myopia for purposes of this study was defined by the investigators as spherical error of at least –0.50 diopters in one eye. The prevalence of myopia among the student was 27%. The mean total-number of hours study by the students who suffer from myopia was significantly different from the mean total-number of hours study by those who do not suffer from myopia. Childhood stress was highly associated with the occurrence of myopia. The study showed students who experience significant childhood stress are 13 times more likely to develop myopia compared to children who do not experience significant childhood stress. There was also a significant association between myopia and gender, age and socio economic status of students. This study concludes that myopia is a significant cause of visual impairment among senior high school students in the Sekyere East District of Ghana, and is therefore an issue of public health concern among senior high school students in the district. Cost effective strategies for vision screening of school children will be very beneficial to the school health program of the Ministry of Health.
A Thesis Dissertation submitted to the School Of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Public Health in Health Education And Promotion.