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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Interventions to Improve School-Based Eye-Care Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

AUTHOR:

Anthea M Burnett, Aryati Yashadhana, Ling Lee, Nina Serova, Daveena Brain & Kovin Naidoo

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

World Health Organization and the World Bank Group and Global Partnership for Education

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2018

PUBLICATION:

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • This study reviews interventions improving eye-care services for schoolchildren in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Of 24 559 publications screened, 48 articles from 13 countries met the inclusion criteria. Factors involved in the successful provision of school-based eye-care interventions included communication between health services and schools, the willingness of schools to schedule sufficient time, and the support of principals, staff and parents.

  • Several studies found that where the numbers of eye-care specialists are insufficient, training teachers in vision screening enables the provision of a good-quality and cost–effective service.

  • As well as the cost of spectacles, barriers to seeking eye-care included poor literacy, misconceptions and lack of eye health knowledge among parents.

  • The review concluded that the provision of school-based eye-care programmes has great potential to reduce ocular morbidity and developmental delays caused by childhood vision impairment and blindness. Policy-based support, while also attempting to reduce misconceptions and stigma among children and their parents, is crucial for continued access.