2024 - 1 Issue

Original article

Refractive Errors Among Members of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic

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Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of refractive errors among members of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, to recommend a safe way of correcting refractive errors with regard to the specific needs of military personnel (especially members of combat units and flying personnel), and to propose a system for solving these errors in order to increase combat effectivity.

Methodology: Questionnaire to determine previous refractive surgery and spectacle correction wear. Measurement of refraction with a hand-held autorefractometer and evaluation of current visual acuity on ETDRS optotypes (Landolt rings).

Results: 259 servicemen (518 eyes) were investigated. The return rate of the questionnaires was 100%. The incidence of myopia greater than -0.75 D was 22% (113 eyes), myopia greater than -0.5 D 32% (166 eyes). The mean value of myopia was -0.78 D (SD ±0.6). Hypermetropia values ranged from +0.25 to +5.0 D. The mean value of hypermetropia was 0.63 D (SD ±0.7).
Astigmatism values ranged from -0.25 to -3.75. The mean value of astigmatism was -0.55 Dcyl (SD ±0.49). The average visual acuity was 84.1 letters ETDRS SD (±6.1), visual acuity worse than 80 letters was manifested by 23% of the members of the monitored group. 25 people (10%) had undergone laser refractive surgery. Visual acuity after laser refractive surgery was measured in 19 people (38 eyes). Mean uncorrected post-laser visual acuity was 83.87 (SD ±6.1) ETDRS letters. The mean follow-up period after laser refractive surgery was 6.78 (SD ±4.8) years.

Conclusion: Despite the initial selection of military personnel and entry limitations, the prevalence of refractive errors is comparable to the general population. However, in contrast with the general population, refractive errors larger than -3.0 D were not represented in the group. Due to the finding of insufficient correction of refractive errors, increased emphasis should be placed on identifying and regularly observing military personnel with refractive errors.