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ISSN: 1734-3402
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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2/2018
vol. 20
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Eye health myths, misconceptions and facts: results of a cross-sectional survey among Nigerian school children

Ngozi Oguego, Onochie Ike Okoye, Obiekwe Okoye, Nkechi Uche, Ada Aghaji, Ferdinand Maduka-Okafor, Chijioke Onyekonwu, Ifeoma Ezegwui, Rich Umeh

Family Medicine & Primary Care Review 2018; 20(2): 144–148
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Background
Vision is critical in the development and performance of children. Factual knowledge of eye health is important for preventive and promotive eye health.

Objectives
To identify eye health myths and misconceptions that are considered true in a population of Nigerian school children, with the aim of prioritizing eye health messages.

Material and methods
In a cross-sectional survey, self-administered questionnaires were used to obtain pupils’ views, which were elicited using statements presented as 22 ocular health myths/misconceptions and three facts in two selected secondary schools in Enugu state, Nigeria in October 2014. Frequency counts and percentages were generated using SPSS v18. A p-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results
The sample comprised 404 males (48.5%) and 429 females (51.5%), age range 10–17 years, median 13–14 years; IQR –6). More pupils in the senior classes had previously listened to eye health talks. The most common beliefs concerned the statements “staying close to the television set will damage vision” 782 (93.9%), and “reading in dim light will damage vision” 758 (90.8%). The least commonly-held misconception was “children do not need regular eye checks” 119 (14.3%). The greatest amount of uncertainty concerned the statements “short-sightedness is worse than long-sightedness” 421 (51%), and “crossed-eye disorders cannot be corrected in children” 383 (46%).

Conclusions
The majority of the children do not have information on eye health. Despite the persistence of these myths and misconceptions, this study has demonstrated that the children had a reasonable level of knowledge in terms of safe eye care practices. However, appropriate eye health messages still need to be provided.

keywords:

eye, schools, child, superstitions, education, Nigeria

 
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