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Objective: To determine the prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis in children in selected schools in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in September and October 2008 as part of the School Eye Health Initiative launched by the Aga Khan University, Karachi and the Adamjee Eye Hospital, Karachi. Children in the selected schools underwent vision assessment and a slit lamp examination by an ophthalmologist. The main objective was to detect allergic conjunctivitis which was ascertained by the presence of papillae in the upper tarsal conjunctiva, redness of the eyes, and presence or history of itching and burning.
Result: A total of 818 children aged 5-19 years were examined. Of these, 19.2% (95% CI 16.5% to 21.9%) had allergic conjunctivitis. There was a significant association between increasing age and allergic conjunctivitis (Odds ratio: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.26; P < 0.001). Boys had a higher burden of allergic conjunctivitis than girls; however this difference was not statistically significant (Odds ratio: 1.31, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.91, p = 0.153).
Conclusion: There is a very high prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis in children in the selected schools in Karachi. Further research is needed to identify factors that contribute to such a high burden of this condition and to assess whether a similar pattern is also observed elsewhere.


Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association