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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Evidence to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of School Eye Health Programmes

AUTHOR:

Priya Morjaria

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

L’Occitane Foundation, Vision Impact Institute, Seeing is Believing – Innovation Fund, USAID – Child Blindness Programme

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2018

PUBLICATION:

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 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.