Evaluation of visual acuity in municipal elementary school students

Abstract Objective: To describe and analyze the prevalence of visual impairment in municipal public school students in Caceres, Mato Grosso. Methods: A transversal study of 489 school children from the second and third years of elementar school in 13 municipal schools in Caceres, attended between December 2017 and January 2018. Visual acuity was evaluated using Snellen optometric chart and considered normal when higher than 0.7 or 20/30. Results: Of the four hundred and eighty-nine children were evaluated, eighty-five (17.4%) had low visual acuity at the screening, being referred for ophthalmological examination with specialist. Of the students referred, sixty three (74.1%) presented at the ambulatory and twenty eight (44.45%) had indication of visual correction, having won the glasses. The prevalence of refractive error was 8.99%, constituting the main cause of low visual acuity. The mean age was 8.29 anos (SD = 0.809), being an average of children with ophthalmological alterations was higher when compared to those without ophthalmological alterations (p = 0.027). Conclusion: The study showed that the prevalence of low visual acuity, as well as its causes, corroborates with that found in other screening programs in school children. It also demonstrated the importance of early diagnosis of visual changes to get better outcomes and emphasized the need for preventive measures for attention to eyes health of school children.