Refractive Error: More Youths have eye problems than imagined.

A new research has shown that, when compared to the older generation, more youths are suffering from refractive error. There is a preconceived notion that medicated glasses as visual aids, are associated with older people. The narrative is changing.

The study revealed the refractory error with the highest incidence is Myopia. Hyperopia, astigmatism and lastly presbyopia comes through in this sequence.


In our world today, a large number of young people are spotted wearing eye glasses; for fashion sake or as prescribed.

The study was carried out among medical and health science students of Madonna University in Nigeria. The findings from this study was published in the Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences.

The alarming increase in the population of youths using medicated glasses as a corrective option for refractive error was traced to genetics, cultural and environmental factors. The study focused on Nigerian youths, who are encumbered by a host of factors as they grow and develop.

Refractive error varies over age, gender, race & ethnicity, level of education, social class, degree of urbanization etc. It is on record that about 2.3 billion people worldwide have refractive error. About 500 million of this number, majority of whom are in developing countries, having little or no access to proper checks, corrections and medicament.

Respondents in the study included 200 level (that is second year) university students, who have been using medicated eye glasses for a minimum 5 years. The study group was chosen to ensure that whatever visual problems seen were not acquired during the period as a student – All respondent had to have refractive error before entering university.

Reading glasses corrects refractive error. Photocredit – Pixabay.

The Refractive Error Study

This study aimed at estimating the prevalence and distribution of medicated glasses & refractive errors among students of Madonna University, Elele Campus, Rivers State. One thousand (1000) questionnaires were prepared and randomly distributed to the study population. 930 questionnaires were retrieved; representing 93% of the total questionnaires.

Of the total questionnaires, 864 questionnaires met with the minimum requirement and was subsequently analysed. 66 questionnaires were discarded for not meeting up to the minimum criteria. Key parameters collected and analysed included age, sex, state of origin, place of residence with duration and presence of refractive error.


Following a careful analysis of the data collected, the researchers concluded that youths residing in the North-west and South-West had the highest incidence of refractive error. The North-East and North-Central had the lowest incidence.

In terms of the refractive error; Myopia is the commonest form (54.21%), followed by hypermetropia (28.21%), then astigmatism (15.75%) and finally presbyopia (1.83%). The result of this study was closely similar to studies done in other regions of the country.


It is a well known fact that, the age of youthfulness comes with robust growth and development associated with growing use of the eye for sight.

Periodic eye check should be encouraged for youths. This would include easily accessible medication especially in the north where there continues to be a diminishing trend in a health indices and parameters occasioned by war and strife.


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Dr E
The Admin is a Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Certified Medical Doctor, with profound expertise in Medical Content Creation and Medical Citizen Journalism. He is popular for being a fast-rising online voice in Nigeria, with a flair for animated writing. He is a professional health content writer. He loves to swim, read and play board games. He sees himself as one who is destined to play a role in the way health services are rendered to the human race.