PREVALENCE OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE DAILY LIVES OF PRE-K CHILDREN.
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1.Purpose/Hypothesis : The purpose of this study was to report the prevalence of visual impairments (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, amblyopia) in pre-school children and discuss the implications of those impairments on motor function in the academic environment. Number of Subjects : We collected data from1424 children, 698 female and 726 male, enrolled in Pre-K programs in 20 elementary schools within the Ft. Worth ISD. 2.Materials/Methods : Children were screened for myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and gaze asymmetry using the plusoptiX ™ hand-held vision-screening refractometer1 . Descriptive statistics provided prevalence of refractive errors and amblyopia. A Chi-squared test was used to compare proportions between male and female, and Hispanic and Non-Hispanic subjects, and those who needed a referral or not. 3.Results : Our sample had a similar proportion of male (51%) and female (49%) students (p = 0.4581); and the following breakdown by race: Asian 2.25%, Black 22.89%, Caucasian 12.57%, Hispanic 60.74%, and Mixed 1.54%. A total of 932 children (65.5%) passed the vision screening while 493 children (34.5%) were referred for further evaluation. For 184 subjects OD and OS sphere measurements were not recorded. We identified 493 children with isometropic refractive amblyopia risk factors: 9 children with myopia, 30 children with hyperopia, and 454 children with astigmatism. Additionally, 27 children were identified as being at-risk for anisometropic refractive amblyopia. We further evaluated our data for the four risk factors between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic groups. There was no significant difference in myopia (OR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.3361-4.7077) and anisometropia (OR= 1.08, 95%CI 0.49-2.38) between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic groups. There was significant difference in hyperopia (OR = 3.25, 95% CI 1.23- 8.57) and astigmatism (OR = 1.58 95% CI 1.25-2.00) between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic groups. 4.Conclusions : Preliminary results from this sample indicate that myopia and anisometropia have similar prevalence across race groups, but hyperopia and astigmatism are more prevalent in the Hispanic vs. Non-Hispanic group. Clinical Relevance : Visual impairments have been associated with delayed development and decreased performance in areas including gross motor skill, fine motor, and academic performance.2,3,4 Other studies have shown that there is an association between visual impairments and delayed gross motor skills leading to decreased physical activity and participation.2 Further studies have shown that with proper visual correction, academic performance can improve to age-matched peers.5 Gross motor skill delay is often due to lack of opportunity to practice skills rather than just the impairment itself.6 Therefore screening and correcting visual impairments is pivotal to facilitate typical motor function and development, increase physical activity and participation, and improve academic performance in children