Refractive errors in children and adolescents in Bucaramanga (Colombia)

<div><p>ABSTRACT Purpose: The aim of this study was to establish the frequency of refractive errors in children and adolescents aged between 8 and 17 years old, living in the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga (Colombia). Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of two descriptive cross-sectional studies that applied sociodemographic surveys and assessed visual acuity and refraction. Ametropias were classified as myopic errors, hyperopic errors, and mixed astigmatism. Eyes were considered emmetropic if none of these classifications were made. The data were collated using free software and analyzed with STATA/IC 11.2. Results: One thousand two hundred twenty-eight individuals were included in this study. Girls showed a higher rate of ametropia than boys. Hyperopic refractive errors were present in 23.1% of the subjects, and myopic errors in 11.2%. Only 0.2% of the eyes had high myopia (≤-6.00 D). Mixed astigmatism and anisometropia were uncommon, and myopia frequency increased with age. There were statistically significant steeper keratometric readings in myopic compared to hyperopic eyes. Conclusions: The frequency of refractive errors that we found of 36.7% is moderate compared to the global data. The rates and parameters statistically differed by sex and age groups. Our findings are useful for establishing refractive error rate benchmarks in low-middle-income countries and as a baseline for following their variation by sociodemographic factors.</p></div>