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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Attitudes of Students, Parents and Teachers Toward Glasses Use in Rural China

AUTHOR:

Liping Li

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

Oxford University, Li Ka Shing Foundation

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2010

PUBLICATION:

JAMA Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Researchers sought to understand why myopic children in rural China aren’t wearing glasses.

  • Parents, teachers and the children in three focus groups reported that glasses purchase and wear should be delayed in children with early myopia and might be harmful to the eyes.

  • Parents and students reported being uncertain about children’s actual myopia status and whether glasses should be worn.

  • Parents ranked their most common reason for not buying glasses as being “too busy with work,” whereas “too expensive” ranked low.

  • Inconvenience was ranked as an important reason for not wearing glasses among all 3 student groups.

  • The study’s conclusion is that educational programs are needed to address significant knowledge gaps in families and schools about glasses use in rural China.

SUMMARY

This focus groups study was undertaken to understand barriers to glasses use among children in rural China. Separate focus groups were conducted between December 17, 2007, and August 5, 2008, for the following 3 groups at each of 3 schools in rural China: children aged 14 to 18 years with myopia of less than −0.5 diopters in both eyes, those children’s parents, and those children’s teachers.


Respondents of all 3 types indicated that glasses purchase and wear should be delayed in children with early myopia and might be harmful to the eyes. Parents and students reported being uncertain about children’s actual myopia status and whether glasses should be worn. Parents ranked their most common reason for not buying glasses as being “too busy with work,” whereas “too expensive” ranked low. Inconvenience was ranked as an important reason for not wearing glasses among all 3 student groups.


“Accuracy of lens power” was the first-ranked requirement for glasses among all student groups, whereas “new and attractive styles” was ranked last by all. All 3 types of respondents believed that wearing glasses or failing to wear them might worsen myopia.

The study’s conclusion is that educational programs are needed to address significant knowledge gaps in families and schools about glasses use in rural China.


Arch Ophthalmol. 2010; 128(6):759-765. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.73