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Background: Globally, uncorrected refractive error (RE) is a major cause of blindness, visual impairment (VI), and low vision.
Aim: To determine the prevalence, pattern, and level of visual impairment among clinic patients with refractive error in a tertiary health facility.
Methods: This was an analytical cross-sectional study conducted on patients who presented at a tertiary health facility in Ogun State, Nigeria. The biodata of the patients, level of education, occupation, the symptoms, and signs including the visual acuity (at presentation and after correction), and diagnosis were considered. Lenses that gave the patient the best vision were recorded as the type and magnitude of refractive error for that individual.
Results: The prevalence of RE was 10.6%. Children and adolescents comprised 23.3% of the cases of refractive error while traders comprised 17.1%. Those who did not have formal education were 3.7%. Blurring of vision for near was the most common presenting symptom. Normal visual acuity (6/6) and better was 33.4% at entry and 77.4% with correction. Myopia was observed to be the most common type of RE in children and adolescents. The prevalence of VI and blindness was 6.7%.
Conclusion: RE is a major cause of blindness and VI, with the prevalence of myopia higher in age group thirty years and below: lack of formal education may be a barrier for uptake of refractive error services in population with low literacy level.