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An epidemiological study of vision disorders in the women, infants and children (W.I.C.) population in Multnomah and Washington counties, Oregon

1 May 2004


The Woman, Infants, and Children program is a federally funded program founded in 1974 to improve the health and nutrition of women of reproductive age and young children in at-risk populations. Because early detection and management of ocular conditions may enhance the life success of many children, Pacific University College of Optometry (PUCO) in Forest Grove, Oregon established WIC Eye Care Program to serve the eye and vision care needs of pediatric patients in WIC. This paper evaluates the epidemiology of vision disorders from a sample of the pediatric WIC population in the communities of Multnomah and Washington Counties, Oregon. The WIC data collected included vision screenings and examination data from three Pacific University clinics: The Northeast Eye Center and Southeast Eye Center in Portland, and the Family Vision Center in Forest Grove. Prevalence data includes both screening and examination results. Refractive error was of highest prevalence in all cases regardless of whether a screening or examination was performed, with hyperopia occurring at the highest rate (12.8% in exams and 4.3% in screenings). Myopia was found in 2 examinations (2.3%) and in 1 screening (0.5%) in our study. Both hyperopia and myopia in our study population appears to be lower than the prevalence rates cited in other epidemiological studies. Of refractive conditions, anisometropia (2.3% of examinations) and astigmatism (1.2% of exams and 0.5% of screenings) were of the lowest prevalence. Health problems were seen in 7% of the examined population and 1.6% of screenings; a rate of ocular health problems that is higher than prevalences reported in other studies. Though results of this study were inconclusive in determining prevalence for the population, this pilot study will serve as a foundation for more future extensive visual ocular prevalence studies in the WIC population.


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