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Lupine Publishers | Caregiver’s Oral Healthcare Practices And The Level of Utilisation Of Oral Health Services and The Dental Caries Experience Of 3-12-Year-Olds Suffering From Heart Disease in Nairobi, Kenya

Lupine Publishers | Caregiver’s Oral Healthcare Practices And The Level of Utilisation Of Oral Health Services and The Dental Caries Experience Of 3-12-Year-Olds Suffering From Heart Disease in Nairobi, Kenya

Lupine Publishers | Dental and Oral Health Journals


Cardiac diseases require that there is the meticulous maintenance of oral hygiene to avoid bacteremia, which has been associated with rheumatic heart disease and bacterial endocarditis. The aim was to establish the utilisation of oral health care and oral health practices of the caregiver about the oral hygiene and caries experience of children aged 3-12 years suffering from heart disease and were attending three pediatric cardiology clinics in Nairobi, Kenya. The study was descriptive and cross-sectional. It involved a study sample of children suffering from different types of cardiac conditions and attending the Pediatric cardiac clinics in three public institutions in Nairobi Kenya. The instruments the caregivers used to brush the children’s teeth were the toothbrush 61(75%); chewing stick 14(17%) and 6 (8%) never cleaned their teeth. Children who used a chewing stick had a lower dmft of 1.40±2.98 compared to a dmft of 3.22±3.59 among children who used the toothbrush, with Mann Whitney U, Z p=0.024 (p≤0.05).The children who brushed their teeth had a lower mean plaque score of 1.68±0.58 compared those who did not clean with a mean plaque of 2.28±0.40 with a Mann Whitney U, Z=-2.611, p=0.009(p≤0.05). It was noted that the children who had visited a dentist had a higher caries experience with a dmft of 4.18±4.13 and DMFT of 1.16±1.92. However, the children who had never sought treatment at a dental facility had lower dmft of 1.89±2.88; and DMFT of 0.36±1, and the differences were statistically significant with Mann Whitney U, Z p=0.008(p≤0.05). The plaque scores and caries experience were high in children whose caregivers had low aggregate utilisation of the oral health care facilities. However, those who had a low aggregate of oral hygiene practices had slightly higher plaque scores and caries experience.
Keywords: Cardiac Disease; Children; Utilisation; Oral Health Services; Caregivers


Populations with chronic medical illness or other disabilities had the most unmet needs for oral health services [1], with poor oral hygiene and increased caries experience than the general population. For a child from a low-income family with heart disease, this means an added economic burden in an already tricky situation [2], as heart diseases necessitate regular dental check-ups and maintenance of meticulous oral hygiene. This concern has even been highlighted with new proposals on changes in the guidelines relating to prophylaxis against infective endocarditis [3,4]. The oral conditions may have a considerable impact on the general health status and quality of life of otherwise healthy children, but their effects on those children with acute and chronic illness can be more dangerous [5]. Children with cardiac defects and diseases are at increased risk or even life-threatening complications [6]. Hence the need for preventive dental health care geared to reducing the risks associated with management of the oral conditions under general anaesthesia. Also, the prolonged bleeding from warfarin medication often taken By the children [7-10]. Poor oral hygiene may give rise to a frequent bacteraemia under normal physiological conditions, and this can lead to a permanent risk of developing heart disease [11-14]. Two common oral diseases, namely periodontal and dental caries, though preventable, are still more prevalent in Kenya [15,16]. The children with heart disease have the disadvantage that their caregivers are preoccupied with the with the primary medical condition the cardiac disease, resulting in the neglect of other facets of the child’s total health [17]. The Kenya National Oral Health policy document has already indicated that the dmft value for Kenyan 5-year old children as at 2002 was 1.5±2.2, while 43% of 6-8-year-old children had caries [15], underscoring the fact that caries is still very rampant amongst the child population in Kenya.
The study was descriptive and cross-sectional where all the patients aged 3 to 12 years and their caregivers attending paediatric cardiology clinics over a three month period at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital (GGCH) and Mater Hospital. A Purposive sampling had been used to select the study hospitals. Based on Kliegman. study, the study population sample was determined as 79 cases. However, 81 patients were recruited in the study. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the children and the parent/guardian habits on oral health practices and utilization of oral health services. As children waited to consult the cardiologist clinical examinations done to record the oral health status. The examination was conducted using sterilized instruments and under natural daylight, with the participants seated on a chair facing the window. Great care was taken during periodontal probing for gingivitis, to avoid initiating bleeding that could lead to septicaemia as the children were not on prophylactic antibiotics. The results were recorded on predesigned individual questionnaire sheets, and a record of dental caries and plaque was done. The dental caries was then recorded as dmft for the primary dentition and DMFT in the permanent [18,19], and the dental plaque was marked based on the Loe and Silness plaque score index [20]. Before commencement of the study, the examiner was calibrated by an experienced paediatric dentist on the collection of data relating to dental caries, and dental plaque Cohen’s kappa index score of 0.87 and 0.85 (n=10) was obtained for dental caries and plaque score respectively. The questionnaire was pre-tested before use. A duplicate clinical examination was also performed by the examiner to determine intra-examiner consistency, with results of Cohen’s kappa index score of 0.91 and 0.86 (n=12) being obtained for dental caries and plaque score respectively.

Data analysis

The data collected was cleaned, coded and analyzed using SPSS version 17-computer software from SPSS Inc. IL. The results obtained were compared and tested using Kruskal Wallis Chi-square and Mann Whitney U statistical tests, with statistical significance pegged at 95% confidence interval.


The 81 children in the study, 44 (54.3%) were males and 37 (45.7%) females. Their ages ranged between 3-12 years with a mean age of 8.16 years (± 2.81 SD), and the 6-9-year-olds accounted for the most substantial proportion of 33 (40.7%) compared to the 3-5 year-olds who formed 16(19.8%). The differences in ages and gender were not statistically significant Chi χ2 =1.287, two df, p=0.525(p≤0.05). A total of 37(46%) children were from rural areas, 28(34%) were from Nairobi, and 16(20%) were from other urban centres other than Nairobi. The distribution of the children according to the type of heart disease, rheumatic (RHD) accounted for 36(44.5%) while infective endocarditis (IE) affected 4(4.9%). The duration since diagnosis of the cardiopathy ranged from less than one year to 12 years. Nearly half of the children, 40 (49%) had been diagnosed with the disease for a duration of between 1 to 5 years, while those who had been diagnosed more than five years and those less than one year accounted for 30% and 21% respectively. The caregivers’ oral health care practices that included how the child’s teeth were brushed; the frequency of brushing; and whether tooth brushing was supervised showed that 75(93%) children cleaned their teeth and 6(7%) children did not clean their teeth. Of the group that cleaned their teeth, 33(44%) did it twice a day, 29(39%) once a day while 16% once in a while/occasionally. About supervision, 62 (83%) reported cleaning their teeth without supervision while 13 were assisted by the caregivers. Inquiry on the ways the child’s teeth were cleaned, 75% (61) of the children used toothbrush and the rest of the results were as shown in Figure 1. The children who used toothpaste were 59 (79%) while 16 (21%) never use any toothpaste.

Considering the utilisation of oral health care services by children with heart diseases; fifty-nine (72.8%), children had never visited a dentist or utilised oral health services. Among the 22 (27.2%) children who had been to a dentist, the dental procedure during the last appointment included extraction 10 (12.3%). Also cleaning/prophylaxis (1(1.2%)), consultation ; check-up 9(11.1%) and fillings 2(2.5%).Caregiver’s oral healthcare practices and the dental caries experience about the children five children who never cleaned their teeth had a higher dmft of 2.93±2.50 compared to a lower dmft of 2.89 ±3.54 among the 56 children who cleaned their teeth, and the differences were insignificant with p=0.957(p≤0.05).
The differences in the frequency of tooth cleaning, the eleven children who cleaned their teeth once in a while had a higher dmft of 3.36±5.29 and the 23 children who cleaned twice a day had lower dmft of 2.68±2.77, but.difference was not statistically significant with p=0.936(p≤0.05). The children who used a chewing stick had a lower dmft of 1.40±2.98 compared to a dmft of 3.22±3.59 among the 46 children who used the toothbrush, with the difference was not statistically significant, p=0.024(p≤0.05). The children who had visited the dentist apparently had a higher caries experience with dmft of 4.18±4.13 and DMFT of 1.16±1.92 when related to the children who had never visited a dentist, who had lower dmft of 1.89±2.88; and DMFT of 0.36±1. These differences in the results were statistically significant, p=0.008(p≤0.05). The rest of the results are as shown in Table 1. When the caregivers were classified into two groups based on the responses to the oral healthcare practices as being favourable or unfavourable practices,53 (86%) caregivers fell in the unfavourable oral healthcare practices. Fiftythree children whose caregivers displayed unfavourable practices had a higher dmft of 3.62±3.54 compared to dmft of 2.74±2.85 among the eight children whose caregivers displayed favourable oral healthcare practices. The difference was statistically significant with Mann Whitney U, Z= -1.297, p=0.197(p≤0.05). The mean plaque score was significantly lower among the 75 children who reported to cleaning their teeth with mean plaque scores of 1.68±0.58, compared to a higher mean PS of 2.28±0.40 among the six children who never cleaned their teeth with p=0.009(p≤0.05). Those children who used the toothbrush had lower mean plaque scores of 1.64±0.61. The children who cleaned more than twice a day had the lowest mean plaque score of 1.55±0.63; and those who cleaned their teeth occasionally had the highest mean plaque scores of 1.99±0.41, though these differences were not statistically significant with χ2 =0.067, 1df, p =0.936 (p≤0.05), Table 2. The mean plaque scores among the 22 (27%) children who had been to a dentist was mean PS of 1.68±0.55 compared to higher plaque score of 1.83±0.61 among the 59 (73%) children who had never been to a dentist Table 2. However, the difference was not significant, with p=0.422 (p≤0.05)


Despite the majority of the respondents, 75(93%), with the majority reporting that their children cleaned their teeth, only 33(44%) of these children cleaned their teeth at least twice a day, 62(83%), of them, cleaning their teeth without supervision by the caregivers. Seven children had never visited a dentist to have teeth cleaned teeth cleaned. Also, some children had occasional cleaning of their teeth, and this puts the children the risk of developing early childhood caries, gingivitis, and poor oral health. The poor oral health may which may give rise to frequent transient bacteremia during mastication or tooth brushing. Other studies among children with heart diseases have reported that 55 % of the children brushed their teeth twice a day [21,22] and that 46.1% of the children brushed three times a day. Owino et al [26] reported that 67.5% of the 12-year-old children in a peri-urban area brushed their teeth. Franco et, al [25] in their study considered as disappointing the percentage of children with congenital heart disease who had never visited a dentist, a reflection of other results obtained in studies by Silva et al [23], Saunders et al.[18], and Fonseca et al [5]. In this study, the very high percentage of the children examined had never seen a dentist, with only 22(27.2%) of the children have been to a dentist before the stu dy. Moreover, even though, most of the treatment, which had been offered during their visit to the dentist, was extraction, just as reported in a study, Ober et al [24]. The finding is alarming since the American Heart Association recommends that children with heart disease should visit a dentist for the institution of preventive measures.
The lower frequency of dental visits in this study compared to other studies in developed countries could be because of the reasons that include the fact that; most of the caregivers are ignorant on the importance of preventive dental care among the children with heart disease. Most of the patients examined were of lower socioeconomic status, therefore, could not afford the treatment. Also; the dental facilities in Kenya are limited, inaccessible and most of them lack skilled dental personnel who are well trained to offer treatment to children with special needs. The use of other tooth cleaning devices like the chewing stick was illustrated in this study. Majority of the children who were using this device were mostly from rural areas where other tooth cleaning aids may not be available. The outstanding fact was that the children examined were from different residential backgrounds. The patients who used the chewing stick in this study had significantly lower dental caries experience than those who used the toothbrush. The low caries experience in the children who used the chewing stick may be because they could not afford the snacks between meals. The low could probably be explained by the fact most of the children who used the chewing stick were from rural areas where the dental caries experience was shown to be lower compared to urban centres possibly because of the difference in the diet. Also, some studies have demonstrated the cariostatic and bacteriostatic properties of some specific species of trees, which are used as chewing sticks. It is also possible that a few children who started to use the brush late in life after severe early childhood caries had been established could have skewed the high caries experience illustrated among the children who were using the brush.
The caregivers’ aggregate oral healthcare practices did not significantly influence the dental caries experience among the children in the present study. The lack of differences in the gadgets for cleaning the teeth may be due to the small sample size where there was a loss of statistical power. Fifty-three (65; 4%) children whose caregivers were classified as portraying “unfavorable practices” had higher caries experience with mean dmft of 3.62±3.54 (n=53) compared to 2.74±2.85 (n=8) among the children whose caregivers reported “unfavorable practices” on oral care. The children who had been to a dentist had a higher dmft than those children who had never been to a dentist. This finding illustrates that children visit a dentist when dental disease dental caries has already occurred and that the majority of the treatment offered was curative to relieve the symptoms, with little or no emphasis on preventive oral care. The lack of focus on preventive oral care was further illustrated by the high proportion of active, untreated caries component of dmft compared to filled or extracted teeth. Despite the fact that caregivers’ aggregate oral health care practices had no significant relationship with the oral hygiene of the children as noted earlier, thirteen children whose caregivers reported “favourable practices” had lower plaque scores of 1.69 ±0.54. However, the plaque scores of sixty-eight children whose caregiver’s had reported favourable practices had a mean plaque score of 1.73±0.59 slightly higher.The children who cleaned their teeth had significantly lower plaque scores compared to those children who never cleaned teeth. The children whose teeth were never cleaned were at high risk of developing sub acute bacterial endocarditis when compared to the children who cleaned teeth regularly. As during the tooth brushing process, there is the mechanical removal plaque thus reducing the possibility of increased bacterial colonization of the plaque and reducing chances of bacteraemia during mastication. It was noted the that toothbrushes were more effective in control of plaque compared to the use of chewing sticks, though there was no significant difference between the two groups. The results of these study showed that children who had been to a dentist displayed better oral hygiene than those children who had never been to a dentist, though there was no statistical difference. The difference perhaps indicates that the dentist visited previously could have offered oral hygiene instructions on good tooth brushing techniques. In addition to that, the caregivers’ aggregate oral healthcare practices did not significantly influence dental caries experience among the children. Those children whose caregivers were classified as portraying “unfavorable practices “on oral care, had higher caries experience with mean dmft of 3.62±3.54 (n=53) compared to 2.74±2.85 (n=8).
The children who had been to a dentist had higher dmft than those children who had never been to a dentist. The finding may be rationalised that children who visited the dentist they did so when dental caries had already occurred. The primary treatment offered was curative to relieve the symptoms, with little or no emphasis on preventive oral care. The situation was further illustrated by the high proportion of active, untreated caries component of dmft compared to filled or extracted teeth.


The utilization of oral health care and oral health practices of the caregiver of the children was low, and only apparent used in case of emergency mainly. The oral hygiene, gingival index and dental caries experience in the study population was high.

Study limitations

The study was only for three months. Hence children who had had appointments in the previous clinics were excluded. The small sample size based in three cardiology clinics may have created a bias. The clinic was limited to 3-23-year-olds excluding the older children 13-17 this is the policy on how paediatric age cut off as defined by the ministry of health.


We thank Professor Loice Gathece for contribution in the design of the study. The Kenyatta National Hospital and the University of Nairobi Ethics and Research Committee fors approval of the proposal. Alice Lakati who helped in statistical work and Dr. E. Kagereki and Dr. Kiprop for data entry. The Nurses and the staff at the Paediatric Cardiac clinics at the KNH, Mater Hospital and the Gertrudes’ Garden children Hospital for facilitating data collection during the clinical examinations for the patients. We acknowledge all the parents and children who participated in the study without whom the study would not have been a success.
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Prevalence of Myopia among Senior High School Students in the Kumasi Metropolis: Juniper Publishers

The study aimed at determining the prevalence of myopia, the age and gender distribution of myopia, and the number of students who show symptoms of myopia in Senior High School students in the Kumasi metropolis.
Method: A total of 662 students aged 14-20 years were randomly screened from12 different Senior High schools in this descriptive cross-sectional study. Data were collected through interviewer - administered questionnaires, ophthalmic examination and refraction. Myopia was defined as the best vision sphere ≥-0.25DS.
Results: The study revealed a myopia prevalence of 25.08% (14.20%infemales) and a mean myopia of -2.72±0.21DS (-2.84±0.18DS for females) among these students. Majority of the myopic cases (66.26%) were found in ages 16 and 17. Myopia was positively correlated with blurred distance vision (r=0.504, p<0.05).
Conclusion: The study revealed significant prevalence of myopia which may continually increase if adequate intervention measures are not put in place.
Keywords: Myopia; Prevalence; Squint; Vision; Error


Myopia is a form of ametropia or refractive error in which parallel light rays from an object at optical infinity are focused by the refractive media of the eye to a focus in front of the retina, with accommodation fully relaxed [1]. Myopes have blurred distance vision but the object becomes clearer as it gets closer. Myopes squint (thus slightly close their eye so reduce palpebral aperture) for distance object in order to create a pinhole effect there by reducing spherical aberrations to create clearer image. Some common symptoms include: blurred distant vision, squinting, nausea and fatigue. Patients with myopia are more at risk of developing retinal detachment, primary open angle glaucoma, chorioretinal atrophy, lacquer cracks, (sub capsular, cortical and nuclear) cataract and myopic macular degeneration than patients with hyperopia [2-8] cause and therefore may be considered to be a multi factorial in origin [9]. Among many risk factors associated with myopia, doing a substantial amount of near work on a regular basis also increase the risk for myopia. Myopia is associated with greater times pen treading and doing near work, more years of education, better reading test scores, occupations that require a great deal of near work and greater academic ability [10-13]. The problem of myopia is often discovered in school-age children who report having trouble
seeing the chalkboard. Myopia becomes progressively worse through adolescence and stabilizes in early adulthood. In fants are mostly born hyperopic and they become less so with the approach towards ametropia [9]. It has been reported that the prevalence of myopia is heightening in both developed and developing countries [14,15]. In school-age and young adult, the prevalence of myopia is estimated to be 20-25% in the mid to late teen age population and 25-35% in young adults in the United States and developed countries [16,17]. In developed countries, screening of eyes in school children is done routinely. Eye services are easily accessible, and the majority of children with eye problems consult them without requiring referral by other health professionals [18]. In Ghana like other developing countries, there is no established vision screening program for students on commencement of school, such that those with early onset of such errors will have many years of poor vision. Moreover, it is often difficult to provide an efficient refraction service for a variety of reasons including lack of awareness about the prevalence and public health importance of eye diseases and most importantly recognition of refractive error as a correctable cause of visual impairment in students, compounded by the non-availability of affordable services. The proportion of children who are blind or visually impaired due to refractive errors (with myopia being the most prevalent) can be used to assess the level of development of eye care services in a country [19-21].
Despite the fact that myopia is such serious problem, only a few papers have been published so far on the prevalence of myopia among school children in Ghana [22-24] as well as hospital based research [25-27]. All these publications report significant prevalence of hyperopia and show a growing need to tackle this problem. The study aimed at determining the prevalence of myopia, the number of students who show symptoms of myopia and the age and gender distribution of myopia in Senior High School students with in the Kumasi metropolis.


Study design and participant selection

A descriptive cross-sectional study was adopted in for this population survey to determine the prevalence of myopia in Senior High school students in the Kumasi metropolis. Twelve (12) Senior High schools (5 mixed schools, 3boys’ schools and 4girls ’schools) were randomly selected among all Senior High Schools in the Kumasi metropolis. A total of 662 study subjects, out of the 731 students who returned their signed informed consents, were present on the days of screening and participated in the study. The students and principals of these selected Senior High schools were contacted and informed consent obtained after a detailed explanation of the purpose, content and benefit of the study. The information exchanged between the respondents and there searcher was confidential and were kept as such. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethics Review Board of the Department of Optometry and Visual Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and the study complied with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Pre-survey stage/pilot project

In a bid to test the adequacy of their search instruments, a pilot study was organized at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Senior High School.

Data collection technique

Data were collected by optometry students who were killed in measuring all the parameters of interest while the principal investigator ensured that the testing protocol was adhered to. Prior to the ophthalmic examination, a questionnaire(for patient history) was given to the students to capture demographic information (age, sex, address and telephone number) and also together information about their chief complaint, visual function, date of last eye examination, knowledge of refractive status, spectacle wear, ocular and systemic health as well as the life style of the student. A thorough ophthalmic examination/eye screening was carried out in all the students randomly selected in the selected schools. The screening procedure included the following: Visual acuity measurement, Ophthalmoscopy and subjective refraction. In this study, myopia was defined as the best vision sphere power of ≥-0.25 DS.

Data analysis

The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) version 12.0 and Microsoft Excel 2007 (Microsoft, Redmond, Washington, USA) after the data collected had been checked for completeness of answers and accuracy. Associations in the categorical variables were determined using Chi-Square test. Paired t-test was used to assess the difference in myopia between males and females in the study. Pearson correlation was used to assess the relationship between myopia and the reported symptoms. P-value less than 0.05 were considered significant.


Demographics of the study population

In all, 662 out of the 731 students who submitted their informed consents were screened. The mean age for the study population was 16.16±2.60 years (age range =14 to 20 years, with 376(56.8%) being males). A breakdown of the distribution of the participants with their schools and gender distribution of participants are shown in (Table 1). From this point onwards, results belonging to the myopic population alone were reported. Out of the 662 respondents, 166 had myopia representing a prevalence of 25.08%. 72 (43.37%) of the myopic population were males. The mean myopia found in this study was -2.72±0.21DS (with a range from-0.25DS to -6.00DS). The mean myopia in the male and female myopic groups was -2.60±0.24DS and -2.84±0.18DS. The difference in mean myopia between the male and female groups was not significant (p=0.67). Majority of the myopic cases (66.26%) was found in the ages of 16 and17 years. (Table 2) shows the distribution of myopia by age and gender. (Table 3) shows the distribution of symptoms by gender within the myopic subgroup of the study population. The most frequent symptom was blurred distance vision (n=157, 94.57%). (Table 4) shows the age distribution of certain symptoms recorded from the respondents. The highest frequency of myopic symptoms was recorded for students aged 16 and 17 years.


The prevalence of myopia in this study (25.08%) was low compared to 55.7%, 83%, 42% and 68% reported by El-Bayoumey et al. In Cairo, Chenetal. In Taiwan, Goh & Lamin Hong Kong, and Fangrunetal. In Shanghai. [20,28-30]. This confirms studies which have indicated that myopia is more prevalent in Asians than Africans. This high prevalence of myopia among Asians has been attributed to the intensive educational systems that demand more near work from Asian school children [31-33]. Other similar studies in Ghana compared to this study reported lower prevalence of myopia. This could probably be due to the definition of myopia in those studies (≥-0.50DS compared to ≥-0.25DS in the current study) and the different populations studied [22-24]. On the other hand, the prevalence of myopia in this study was higher than that among secondary school students in Mwanzacity, Tanzania which reported a prevalence of 5.6% [34]. Studies have found equivocal results regarding the difference in the prevalence of myopia among males and females [9,22,27,35,36]. In this study, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of myopia between the males and females (p>0.05).The mean myopia in females was slightly higher than that of the males. However, the difference in mean myopia between the male and female groups was not significant (p=0.67). Kumah reported a lower percentage of myopia among boys in Atwima the Ashanti region of Ghana [22]. Reasons given to account for this were that, females grow rapidly than males and also tend to read and write more than males. The subsequent increase in near work predisposes them to myopia development as seen in you then set myopia [9]. Koomson et al. [27] reported a higher prevalence estimate in males than in females. There reason given was that, sex-related difference of myopia is not certain but could be due to the relative differences in response to health seeking behavior. Also, it could be that males do more jobs requiring corrected myopia than females.
A total of 94.57% of the myopic respondents complained of blurred distance vision while 71.69% complained of headaches. The difference in symptoms reported between the males and females was not significant for each of the symptom category (p>0.05). Pearson’s correlation revealed a positive significant association between myopia and blurred distance vision (r=0.504, p<0.05). There was no correlation between myopia and all the other symptom categories (p>0.05). The complaint of headache is not usually associated with true myopic patients with the exception of pseudomyopia and some forms of induced myopia. If as asthenopia is present in a patient with myopia, it is usually due to some other cause, such as astigmatism, anisometropia, an accommodative dysfunction, or a vergence disorder, thus headache is not pathognomonic of pure myopia [37]. There was a significant difference of myopia occurrence among the age groups, similar to what was reported by Kumah in 2007 (p<0.05) [22]. In this study, the students between the 15 to18 year brackets had the highest prevalence of myopia (91.56%), of which 32.53% and 33.73% were 16 and 17 years respectively. This was so because the majority of the respondents were16and17 years, which was comparable to other studies. Apart from myopia being inherited, students tend to do more extensive near work like reading textbooks, watching TV, playing video games, browsing the net, among others, due to the socio economic growth and changes. This has contributed to the increase in the prevalence in these ages. Most of respondents (80%) were not aware of their refractive status. This was probably due to the fact that most of them had not taken an eye examination before, a common occurrence among developing countries [38]. This is similar to low proportions of students who have had eye examinations before in several studies conducted in most developing countries in Africa [23,24,28,34,39]. For the few who had spectacle corrections (2%), most of them were reluctant in using their corrections for they wanted to be accepted by their peers and also for some perceived probable side effects associated with lens wear. For instance, some people don’t appreciate their appearanceing lasses and they think it detracts from their facial aesthetics or hides their features [40].


This study has revealed a significant prevalence of myopia among senior high school students in the Kumasi metropolis. It is likely that both the rate and severity of myopia will increase as a result of the rapid socio economic growth of Kumasi and Ghana as a whole, if the needed efforts are not taken to put its progression under control. Myopia is considered as one of the important medical, social and public health issues that need to be addressed in Kumasi and other regions in Ghana. Were commend that a policy be put up by the Ghana Education Service which will allow the inclusion of pre-school and a routine in-school eye screening for all levels of education. Through the school health education programmers of the Ghana education service, students, teachers and the communities should be educated on the importance of ocular health. They should be trained to identify the different refractive states of the eye, especially myopia; its signs, symptoms and complications so that they can report to the appropriate quarters for the appropriate assessment and management.


We would like to acknowledge the principals of the selected Senior High School in the Kumasi Metropolis for their support in providing venues during the time of the study.
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