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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 223-228

Prevalence and distribution of refractive errors among ophthalmic patients in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea

1 Workforce and Academic Team, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Auckland, New Zealand; Department of Health Extension, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
2 Department of Health Extension, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
3 Fred Hollows Foundation PNG Inc., Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Bismark Owusu-Afriyie
3700 McDonald Road, Apt #124, Tyler, TX 75701

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joco.joco_337_21

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Purpose: To assess the prevalence and distribution of refractive errors in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Methods: A retrospective hospital-based study was conducted at Madang Provincial Hospital Eye Clinic. It is a free eye clinic and spectacle costs are further subsidized by a nongovernmental organization. Nonprobability purposive sampling was used to retrieve patients' records at the eye clinic from January to December 2016. Only demographic and clinic data on the patients' first visit to the eye clinic were recorded and these included their age, gender, location, presenting visual acuity (VA), and refractive correction. Results: One thousand and one hundred eighty-four patients' records were retrieved, of which 622 (52.53%) had refractive error. The mean age of refractive error presentation was 49.68 ± 16.29 years with a range of 9–86 years. There were more males (55%) than females. About a quarter of the patients (21.2%) presented with moderate visual impairment. There was a statistically significant relationship between visual impairment and age group (P < 0.001). Myopia (53.1%) was the most common type of refractive error followed by hyperopia (32.5%) and astigmatism (14.4%). The uptake of spectacle correction was very high (95.3%) among the patients. More than one-tenth of the patients (12.5%) reported from other provinces. Almost one-third of the patients (31.4%) could not obtain a VA of 6/6 after refraction. About one-fifth (17.0%) of the patients were suspected of functional amblyopia. Conclusions: Uncorrected refractive error (URE) is a significant cause of visual impairment in PNG. There is a need for the integration of eye care services into primary health care for early detection, treatment, and prevention of visual impairment caused by UREs.

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