Effectiveness of using teachers to screen eyes of school-going children in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, India

Sudhan, Anand; Pandey, Arun; Pandey, Suresh; Srivastava, Praveen; Pandey, Kamta Prasad; Jain, Bhudhendra Kumar
December 2009
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology;Dec2009, Vol. 57 Issue 6, p455
Academic Journal
Aim: To assess the effectiveness of teachers in a vision screening program for children in classes 5th to 12th attending school in two blocks of a district of north central India. Materials and Methods: Ophthalmic assistants trained school teachers to measure visual acuity and to identify obvious ocular abnormalities in children. Children with visual acuity worse than 20/30 in any eye and/or any obvious ocular abnormality were referred to an ophthalmic assistant. Ophthalmic assistants also repeated eye examinations on a random sample of children identified as normal (approximately 1%, n=543) by the teachers. Ophthalmic assistants prescribed spectacles to children needing refractive correction and referred children needing further examination to a pediatric ophthalmologist at the base hospital. Results: Five hundred and thirty teachers from 530 schools enrolled 77,778 children in the project and screened 68,833 (88.50%) of enrolled children. Teachers referred 3,822 children (4.91%) with eye defects for further examination by the ophthalmic assistant who confirmed eye defects in 1242 children (1.80% of all screened children). Myopia (n=410, 33.01%), Vitamin A deficiency (n=143, 11.51%) and strabismus (n=134, 10.79%) were the most common eye problems identified by the ophthalmic assistant. Ophthalmic assistants identified 57.97% referrals as false positives and 6.08% children as false negatives from the random sample of normal children. Spectacles were prescribed to 39.47% of children confirmed with eye defects. Conclusions: Primary vision screening by teachers has effectively reduced the workload of ophthalmic assistants. High false positive and false negative rates need to be studied further.


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