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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 171-180

A study on visual acuity and Vitamin A deficiency among primary school students in Naxalbari village, Darjeeling district of West Bengal

Department of Community Medicine, N.B. Medical College, Sushruta Nagar, Darjeeling, India

Correspondence Address:
S K Lahiri
Associate, Professor, N.B. Medical College, Sushruta Nagar - 734432, Darjeeling, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 15709575

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331 primary school students studying from Nursery classes to Class IV in 2 randomly selected schools in Naxalbari Village in Darjeeling district of West Bengal were tested for visual acuity (VA), Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and Bitot's spot. 329 students could be tested for visual acuity whereas all 331 students were tested for VAD and Bitot's spot. The prevalence of abnormal Visual Acuity (VA) (VA <6/9 in any eye) in this study group was 3.65% and it was highest in 7 - 8 years age group in both the sexes contributing to 75% of the total students having abnormal VA. All these children fell within 50th percentile of weight and height for their respective age and sex. Hindu & ST children accounted for 91.67% & 50% abnormal VA respectively; however, when presence of abnormal VA was compared with its absence between 2 sexes, Hindu and Muslim students and in different castes, no statistically significant differences were found (p >.05). Students of Class-I and Class-II contributed 25% and 50% respectively and together accounted for 75% of abnormal VA. Prevalence of VAD was 8.16%. Among sufferers of VAD Hindus (81.48%) and ST (51.85%) were the main contributors; the differences between presence and absence of VAD in 2 sexes, among 3 religious groups were not statistically significant (p > .05); however, differences among ST and NonSCST groups, and again SC, ST and Non-SCST groups were statistically significant (p < .05). Prevalence of Bitot's spot was 3.63%. Among the students having Bitot's spot, females (58.33%) outnumber the males (41.67%); but the difference between presence and absence of Bitot's spot in 2 sexes was not statistically significant (p>.05). 83.33% each of Hindus and STs had Bitot's spot. No SC and no Muslim student had this spot; the differences between presence and absence of Bitot's spot between Hindu and Christian students were statistically significant (p < .01); similarly when the findings were considered between ST and NonSCST students the difference was found to be statistically highly significant (p <.001).

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