Evidence to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of School Eye Health Programmes
L’Occitane Foundation, Vision Impact Institute, Seeing is Believing – Innovation Fund, USAID – Child Blindness Programme
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Uncorrected refractive errors (URE) are the commonest cause of visual loss in children, accounting for 90-95% of visual impairment.
Myopia is the commonest form, which usually starts around the age of 9 to 11 years, progressing in severity throughout adolescence.
Hypermetropia is more common in younger children, and usually resolves by around 10 years of age. Astigmatism affects all age groups and does not change over time.
Myopia is far more common in Asian children, particularly in South East Asia, and all types of refractive errors are less common in African children.
There is emerging evidence of the impact of correcting REs in children in terms of school performance, and spectacle correction improves quality of life and visual functioning.
Many countries have programmes for uncorrected refractive errors among schoolchildren. However, approaches vary and subsequent spectacle wear can be very low. Over-prescribing may be a factor as protocols are rarely used. Other barriers to spectacle wear include being teased, no perceived benefit and beliefs about causation.
Study objectives: to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of school programs for uREs by assessing the utility of ready-made spectacles, and to assess whether novel health education interventions delivered by a mobile phone application (Peek) increase spectacle wearing rates in children.