Vernal keratoconjunctivitis in school children in Rwanda: clinical presentation, impact on school attendance, and access to medical care.
We sought to describe the clinical presentation, effect on visual acuity, impact on school attendance, and access to appropriate eye care in children with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) in Rwanda (Central Africa).
Case-control study nested within a cross-sectional survey.
We examined 3041 children; 121 had VKC.
Primary schools were randomly selected and children were interviewed using a questionnaire on VKC-related symptoms. Data on health-seeking behavior and school attendance were recorded. Children received a full eye examination, including visual acuity using a LogMar E Chart.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Description of the clinical findings, unaided visual acuity, prior attendance for medical eye care, and the impact of VKC on school attendance.
Of the 121 children with VKC, 119 (98.4%) had only limbal disease. Ocular itching (n = 101; 83.5%) was the predominant symptom and this was seasonal in 66 children (65.4%), constant but with variable intensity in 18 (17.8%), and constant with constant intensity in 17 children (16.8%). Children with VKC were >6 times more likely to have corneal astigmatism >2 diopters in their worse eye (odds ratio [OR], 6.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.26-12.26; P<0.001) than controls. Eight affected eyes had astigmatism >4 diopters or irregular astigmatism incompatible with autokeratometry. Although 4 eyes (1.7%) had uncorrected low vision from VKC-induced corneal astigmatism or keratoconus, only 1 child was visually impaired in both eyes. School nonattendance for an ocular reason during the last 3 months was 5 times more likely in children with VKC (n = 44; 36.4%) than among those without (n = 297; 10.2%; OR, 5.04; 95% CI, 3.40-7.47; P < 0.001). Repeating a school year or having ever dropped out of school was not more common among children with VKC than those without. Medical eye care had been sought by 54 (44.6%) children with VKC.
This survey of prevalence and treatment of VKC in an African community adds to the argument for better primary eye care, including a safe topical medication. Long-term follow-up of this cohort is required to ascertain the overall risk of sight-threatening complications.
Ophthalmology Department, Kabgayi Hospital, Muhanga, Rwanda. firstname.lastname@example.org
SourceOphthalmology 119:9 2012 Sep pg 1766-72
Health Services Accessibility
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't