Main visual symptoms associated with refractive errors and spectacle need in a Brazilian population
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AIM: To determine the main visual symptoms in a Brazilian population sample, associated to refractive errors (REs) and spectacle need to suggest priorities in preventive programs. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in nine counties of the southeast region of Brazil, using a systematic sampling of households, between March 2004 and July 2005. The population was defined as individuals aged between 1 and 96y, inhabitants of 3600 residences to be evaluated and 3012 households were included, corresponding to 8010 subjects considered for participation in the survey, of whom 7654 underwent ophthalmic examinations. The individuals were evaluated according their demographic data, eye complaints and eye examination including the RE and the need to prescribe spectacles according to age. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software package and descriptive analysis using 95% confidence intervals (P<0.05). RESULTS: The main symptom detected was asthenopia, most frequent in the 2nd and 3rd decades of life, with a significant decline after the 4th decade. Astigmatism was the RE most associated with asthenopia. Reduced near vision sight was more frequent in those ≥40y with a progressive decline thereafter. Spectacles were most frequently required in subjects of ≥40 years of age. CONCLUSION: The main symptom related to the vision was asthenopia and was associated to astigmatism. The greatest need for spectacles prescription occurred after 40‘s, mainly to correct near vision. Subjects of ≥40 years old were determined to be at high risk of uncorrected REs. These observations can guide intervention programs for the Brazilian population.
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