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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Ophthalmology 1/2017

Visual symptoms associated with refractive errors among Thangka artists of Kathmandu valley

BMC Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Deepa Dhungel, Gauri Shankar Shrestha



Prolong near work, especially among people with uncorrected refractive error is considered a potential source of visual symptoms. The present study aims to determine the visual symptoms and the association of those with refractive errors among Thangka artists.


In a descriptive cross-sectional study, 242 (46.1%) participants of 525 thangka artists examined, with age ranged between 16 years to 39 years which comprised of 112 participants with significant refractive errors and 130 absolutely emmetropic participants, were enrolled from six Thangka painting schools. The visual symptoms were assessed using a structured questionnaire consisting of nine items and scoring from 0 to 6 consecutive scales. The eye examination included detailed anterior and posterior segment examination, objective and subjective refraction, and assessment of heterophoria, vergence and accommodation. Symptoms were presented in percentage and median. Variation in distribution of participants and symptoms was analysed using the Kruskal Wallis test for mean, and the correlation with the Pearson correlation coefficient. A significance level of 0.05 was applied for 95% confidence interval. The majority of participants (65.1%) among refractive error group (REG) were above the age of 30 years, with a male predominance (61.6%), compared to the participants in the normal cohort group (NCG), where majority of them (72.3%) were below 30 years of age (72.3%) and female (51.5%).


Overall, the visual symptoms are high among Thangka artists. However, blurred vision (p = 0.003) and dry eye (p = 0.004) are higher among the REG than the NCG. Females have slightly higher symptoms than males. Most of the symptoms, such as sore/aching eye (p = 0.003), feeling dry (p = 0.005) and blurred vision (p = 0.02) are significantly associated with astigmatism.


Thangka artists present with significant proportion of refractive error and visual symptoms, especially among females. The most commonly reported symptoms are blurred vision, dry eye and watering of the eye. The visual symptoms are more correlated with astigmatism.
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