|Year : 1974 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 1-3
Eye diseases among primary school children
Surinder Singh, Harcharan Singh, Vasdev Singh Joshi
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala, India
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Singh S, Singh H, Joshi VS. Eye diseases among primary school children. Indian J Ophthalmol 1974;22:1-3
In India children below the age of 15 years form about 42% of the population. Therefore schools are one of the best centres for effectively implementing the comprehensive health care programme. The beginning of school health service in India dates back to 190°, when for the first time the medical examination of the school children of Baroda city was carried out.
In 1960 the Government of India constituted a school health committee which recommended medical examination of children at the time of entry into school and thereafter every 4 to 5 years but this has hardly been the practice in our schools so far.
In view of importance of detecting eye defects in children an effort has been made in the present study to find out the extent of problem of diseases of eye in the primary school children of Patiala city.
| Material and Methods|| |
An intensive compaign under "CHILDREN HEALTH CARE PROGRAMME" was launched in the city of Patiala on 14th November, 1973 and completed in the first week of February, 1974. During this compaign all the primary school children of all the schools of Patiala city, were clinically examined by a team of qualified doctors from Government Medical College, Patiala. In all, 11813 school children of 63 schools were examined. The findings of clinical examination were entered in a proforma and later on analysed. The analysis of eye diseases was then made separately for girls schools, schools situated in slum areas and modern schools. The total strength of primary school children in these schools were reported to be 15995. Thus 4182 children (26.16%) were absent from their schools at the time of examination.
| Observations and Discussion|| |
In all, 11813 primary school children were examined out of which 7590 children were found to be suffering from one disease or the other, showing a morbidity rate of 64.25%. These figures are lower than those reported by Mukerjee and Sen Gupta  and Sree Hari Rao  . Mukerjee and Sen Gupta  showed that a total of 83% of children had some defects in school of urban West Bengal. In a study by Sree Hari Rao  at Madras higher secondary school, Lakshmibai Nagar, New Delhi, 71.3% of children were found to have some disease, defect or disability.
The prevalence rate of eye disease were found to be 13.79%. [Table - 1] shows the rates and percentages of various eye diseases among primary school children.
It was observed that out of all the eye diseases trachoma alone was responsible for 63.68%, followed by conjunctivitis (23.74%).
Other eye diseases noticed were defective vision, blepharitis, squint, corneal opacity, night blindness and stye.
| Trachoma|| |
Only the second and third stages of trachoma as seen by naked eye were included in this study. 1032 children (8.79%) were found to be having trachoma. In a study by Sehgal and Dutta  in U.P. the prevalence of trachoma was 56%, but in an other study by Sree Hari Rao et. al.  11.6% of children were found to be having trachoma.
It was further observed that the prevalence of trachoma was 11.17% [Table - 2] among girl students. Among the children of schools situated in slum areas the prevalence of trachoma was found to be 9.17% [Table - 3].
On the other hand 5.06% cases of trachoma were noticed among school children studying in modern schools [Table - 4]. In a study by Sree Hari Rao et al.  it was observed that prevalence of trachoma was relatively low (9.8%) in the highest socio-economic group and relatively high (14.7%) in the lowest socio-ecnomic group.
| Conjunctivitis|| |
A total of 387 children were diagnosed as having conjunctivitis. This accounted for 23.74% of the total eye disease with prevalence rate of 3.27%. Among the girls the prevalence of conjunctivitis was 4.2%. In the school children of slum areas, conjunctivitis was found in 3.54% and among the children of modern schools it was 3.16%.
| Defective vision|| |
The acuity for distant vision was tested by using Snellen's chart. A total of 103 (0.87%) children of all the primary schools were found to be having defective vision. In a study by Sree Hari Rao et al.  14.6% of children were found to have defective vision. In another study by Agarwal' on school children in Delhi 23.4% of them had defective vision. In girl schools defective vision was present in 0.77% of children, and among the children of schools situated in slum areas it was 0.39% where as in the children of modern school, it was 0.48%.
| Blepharitis|| |
Blepharitis was noticed in 72 children accounting for 4.42% of the children having eye diseases showing a prevalence rate of 0.6%. In the case of girls the prevalence was 0,57% Among the children of slum areas blepharitis was noticed to the tune of 0.66% where as among the children of modern schools it was 0.42%.
| Squint|| |
Thirty children (0.19% were found to be having squint accounting for 1.41% of the total eye diseases. In a study by Sree Hari Rao et. al.  0.9% of children had squint.
Among the girls it was found to be 0.20%. Among school children of slum areas it was 0.26% and among the children of modern school it was noticed in 0.21%.
| Other diseases of the eye|| |
Corneal opacity, night blindness and stye were the other diseases of the eye noticed during the study, affecting 7 cases (0.06%) accounting for 0.43% of the total diseases of the eye. Only one case of corneal opacity was noticed in a child of girls school. One child having stye was noticed in a school of slum areas.
| Summary and conclusions|| |
A total of 11813 primary school children studying in 63 schools were clinically examined. Out of them 64.25% were found to be having some eye defect. The eye diseases which were found in the present study were trachoma, conjunctivitis defective vision, blep, haritis, squint, corneal capacity, night blindness and stye.
| References|| |
Agarwal, L.P. 1966, Oriental. Arch. Ophthal,
Govt. of India, 1961 `Report of school Health Committee,
Central Health Education Bureau, New Delhi.
Mukherjee, P. E. and Sen Gupta, S.K., 1960, Ind. J. Pub. Health 4,
Park, J.E., `Text Book of Preventive & Social Medicine,
1268, Napier Town, Jabalpur.
Sehgal, B.S. and Dutta S.P. 1957, Ind. J. Pub. Health, 1,
Shree Hari Rao, Y, Gulati, P.V. and Patnaik K.C., 1972 Ind. J. Pub. Health 1,
[Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3], [Table - 4]