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Year : 1984  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 335-337

Xerophthalmia in rural and urban 'Anganwadi children'

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. VM Medical College & General Hospital, Solapur, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, Dr. VM Medical College & General Hospital, Solapur, India

Correspondence Address:
A G Chandrorkar
Department of Pharmacology, Dr. V.M. Medical College, Solapur-413 003, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 6545317

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How to cite this article:
Sharma S P, Albal M V, Chandrorkar A G. Xerophthalmia in rural and urban 'Anganwadi children'. Indian J Ophthalmol 1984;32:335-7

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Sharma S P, Albal M V, Chandrorkar A G. Xerophthalmia in rural and urban 'Anganwadi children'. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1984 [cited 2023 Jun 10];32:335-7. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?1984/32/5/335/27505

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Two thirds of the blindness in the world is preventable, of which the major cause is xerophthalmia, which is an end point in Vitamin `A' deficiency that describes a level of compromised ocular function.

The Anganwadi children are one of the best centres for effectively implementing a comprehensive care. Anganwadis run under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

The ICDS project was introduced in Solapur District and is functioning since 1979. Hence the present study was carried out in Anganwadi children from rural and urban slums, to investigate the pattern and extent of eye diseases and the impact of curative and preventive health care rendered under the ICDS project.

  Material and methods Top

The present study was conducted in the district Solapur; in Pandharpur-rural area and Solapur City slum area, to find out the pattern of various ocular diseases prevalent among 0-6 years of Anganwadi children. Out of 100 Anganwadis, 14 village Anganwadis were examined in rural areas and 15 Angan­wadis in urban slum areas on non-selective random sample basis, representing all four zones. All the children present in Anganwadi were examined in sequence. Children below 3 years were called in Anganwadis with the help of Anganwadi workers. The number of Anganwadi children examined in the age group 0-6 years was 2590 with 1436 males and 1154 females, 1293 coming from urban slum and 1297 from rural areas.

The study was conducted during the period of March, 1982 to April, 1983. Xerophthalmia was classified clinically as per the revised recommendation on classification pre­valence levels that require action and the treatment of xerophthalmia by WHO[1]

The Socio-economic and nutritional status of the family was also assessed.

  Results Top

The distribution of patients as per their age sex and environment is shown in [Table - 1]. while the % of morbidity observed is shown in [Table - 2]. It is obvious from the [Table - 2] that the ocular morbidity is very high (40.70%) in rural Anganwadi children than in urban popula­tion (18.09%). [Table - 3] gives the details of the other commonest observation made during the study was that the majority of the children (51.29%) were underweight (as per weight for age standard), followed by history of worm infestation (36.4%); diarrhoea (12.2%) (off and on) and respiratory tract infection (9.6%). Xerophthalmia prevalence was more in male (29.03%) than in females (22.01%), more in low income group (26.58%) than in either middle income group (11.3%) or in higher income group (6.94%).

  Discussion Top

Vitamin `A' deficiency and xerophthalmia constitutes a problem of enormous magnitude throughout much of Asia and Southeast Asia. Numerous surveys in India report high prevalance rates with annual incidence rate of 2.7/1000 population.

In our series xerophthalmia constitutes 25.90% ocular morbidity with its higher pre­valence in rural area 38.76% compared to 12.97% in urban slum area. The prevalence was more in males (29.58%) than in females (22.01%). It is higher in low income group (26.50%) than in middle income group (11.3%) or in higher socioeconomic group (6.94%). All the children examined in this study i.e. 0-3 years and 3-6 years age group, were covered under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). As mentioned these children were getting. regular Vitamin `A' 1 Lakh IU every 6 months, as per old WHO dose schedule[2] and those who were malnourished were getting high protein diet under_ ICDS project.

It is surprising that such a high prevalence of xerophthalmia should be present in children who are getting supplementation of Vitamin `A' regularly, under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). A similar study need to be done in children, who are not covered under ICDS project. They may show the same or even higher incidence and pre­valence of xerophthalmia and degress of severity of the xerophthalmia may also be more than these children who are receiving Vitamin `A'.

Malnutrition, infection and infestations carrying strata require higher doses of vitamin `A' than prescribed for the normal individual and simultaneous supplementa­tion of high protein diet, control of infection and infestations is necessary. High dose of vitamin may also be required during seasonal variation i.e. summer and rainy season and droughts.

Majority of the population covered con­sumed table salt, sugar and jaggery. In a poor country like India fortification of table salt, jaggary, sugar and other commonly con­sumed items with vitamin'A' will therefore be the best possible cheapest solution to reduce this mammoth problem of xerophthalmia.

  Summary Top

Present study was carried out in 'Angan­wadi Children' from rural and urban slums, to investigate the pattern and extent of eye dis­eases and the impact of curative and preven­tive health care rendered under ICDS project. Out of 2590 children examined 29.42% children suffered from eye disease, while xerophthalmia was seen in 25.89%.

  References Top

WHO: Vit. 'A' deficiency and xerophthalmia. teport of a Joint WHO/USAID Meeting Technical Report series No. 672. Geneva, 1982.  Back to cited text no. 1
WHO: Vit. 'A' d.-ficien.y and xerophthalmia. Report of a Joint WHO/US \ID metting. Technical report series No. 590, Geneva,1976.  Back to cited text no. 2


  [Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3]


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