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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Poor Vision Among China's Rural Primary School Students: Prevalence, Correlates and Consequences

AUTHOR:

H. YI, L. Zhang, X. Mab, N, Congdongc, Y. Shi, X. Pang, J. Zeng, L. Wang, M. Boswell, and S. Rozelle

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2015

PUBLICATION:

China Economic Review

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The study explored the prevalence, correlates and potential consequences of poor vision among children living in Shaanxi and Gansu.

  • The sample comprised of 19 977 participants who were spread across two provinces.

  • Results showed that 24% of participants suffer from reduced uncorrected visual acuity in either eye, while 16% have reduced uncorrected visual acuity in both eyes.

  • While the study revealed that uncorrected visual acuity is high in both provinces it is 72% higher in Shaanxi relative to Gansu (p < 0.01).

  • The study found that the prevalence of reduced uncorrected visual acuity increases with grade level;

  • Of the 9865 grade four students 21% failed their visual acuity screenings; and of the 10,112 grade five students 27% failed their visual acuity screenings.

  • Results showed that poor vision is significantly correlated with individual, parental and family characteristics.

  • Moreover; results suggest a possible adverse impact of poor vision on academic performance and mental health, particularly among students with severe poor vision.

Abstract: Using a survey of 19,977 children in two provinces, this paper explores the prevalence, correlates and potential consequences of poor vision among children in China’s vast but understudied rural areas. We find that 24% of sample students suffer from reduced uncorrected visual acuity in either eye and 16% in both eyes. Poor vision is significantly correlated with individual, parental and family characteristics, with modest magnitudes for all correlates but home province and grade level. The results also suggest a possible adverse impact of poor vision on academic performance and mental health, particularly among students with severe poor vision.