Amplitude of accommodation in 9 to 13 year old school children of Mankweng circuit, Limpopo province

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Mafeo, M. E.
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University of the Free State
Background: Amplitude of accommodation (AA) is the function of accommodation referred to as the dioptric difference between the far point (the eye is at rest) and near point (when the eye is fully accommodated) and is known to reduce with increase in age. To determine if an individual has low, normal or high amplitude of accommodation (AA) for his / her age, norms calculated from Hofstetter’s formulae are still used as reference all over the world. However, these norms were found to be irrelevant to Ghanaian and Swedish children. Out of the few accommodation studies conducted in South Africa, none of the studies documented the AA of learners from the Mankweng circuit, Limpopo province in South Africa. Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to investigate the AA in 9 to 13 year old school children of Mankweng circuit, Limpopo province. Method: A cross - sectional, analytical, descriptive study was conducted on 291 learners aged 9 to 13 years of age (median age = 11.3 years). Learners were conveniently selected but schools were randomised. Learners who passed visual screening tests consisting of habitual visual acuity at 6 m and 40 cm right eye and left eye (RE and LE), +2.50 D lens test at 6 m (RE and LE), prism cover test at 40 cm and direct ophthalmoscopy (RE and LE), were included in this study. One hundred and eighty - five (185) learners met the inclusion criteria and proceeded to the measurements of AA which were determined subjectively using the push - up (PU) to - blur (first data set) and pull - away (PA) to - clear (second data set) techniques, and objectively using the dynamic retinoscopy (DR) (fourth data set). The PU and the PA results were thereafter used to determine the average AA for each participant, which were regarded as the third AA measurement data set for the current participants. Results: The subjective and objective techniques of measuring AA yielded different results among the same participants aged 9 to 13 years. Dynamic retinoscopy (DR) technique measured the highest AA (median = 19.7 D), with PU (median = 14.3 D), PA (median = 13.4 D) and the average results of PU / PA techniques (median = 13.8 D) measuring lower. The median AA were reducing from 21.2 D to 18.3 D as age increased in 9 to 13 year old participants when measured with DR; from 15.5 D to 12.9 D with PU; from 14.4 D to 12.2 D with PA and from 15.0 D to 12.5 D when using the average results of PU / PA measurements. The rate at which AA changed between different age groups was found to be inconsistent. Furthermore, a significant difference existed between the AA of groups of 2 years or more apart. There was no statistical significant difference between the AA in female and male participants. The results further showed that the type of technique used to collect AA measurements, may have influenced the prevalence rate of a LOW AA. The results showed a high prevalence of LOW AA with PA technique 18.4% (CI of [13.5% to 24.6%]), followed by the average results of PU / PA techniques 12.4% (CI of [8.4% to 18.0%]) and lastly PU technique 7.6% (CI of [4.6% to 12.3%]). For the same participants, the DR technique did not measure LOW AA amongst any of the age groups. In each technique, there were outliers reported, with the majority in the 9 - year - old age group. Conclusion: The measured AA decreased with increasing age with all the techniques used, although the rate of reduction was not constant between the age groups. Furthermore, the AA between the age groups 12 and 13 years was statistically significantly different and also between the age groups of two or more years apart (e.g. 9 and 11 years). The AA in female and male participants showed no statistical significant difference. The prevalence of LOW AA determined, was higher with the PA technique as compared to the PU technique. The objective measurements were statistically significantly higher to the subjective measurements.
Dissertation (M. Optometry (Optometry))--University of the Free State, 2020, Push - up technique, Pull - away technique, Dynamic retinoscopy technique, PU / PA techniques, Subjective technique, Objective technique, Hofstetter’s formulae, Prevalence, low AA, Amplitude of accommodation, Optometry - Practice - South Africa, Eye - Accommodation and refraction, Vision disorders in children