PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of refractive error and spectacle coverage in Zoba Ma'ekel, Eritrea in order to assist in planning for refractive services and blindness prevention strategies.
METHODS: A community-based cross-sectional study using multistage cluster sampling was conducted. A total of 3200 participants aged 15-50 years were enumerated and examined using the Rapid Assessment of Refractive Error (RARE) protocol.
RESULTS: The response rate was 99.1%. The prevalence of refractive error was 6.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6-7.2%). Spectacle coverage for refractive error was 22.2% (95% CI 16.7-28.5%). It was higher among males than females (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.028), and highest in those who had completed secondary school (48.6%, 95% CI 31.9-65.6%) and those who resided in Asmara (Fisher's exact test, p
CONCLUSION: The study provides helpful findings to assist with the development of appropriate refractive service planning in Zoba Ma'ekel. Uncorrected refractive error is of public health importance and prompt measures are needed to address the problem.
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