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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

School-Based Approaches to the Correction of Refractive Error in Children

AUTHOR:

Abhishek Sharma, Nathan Congdon, Mehul Patel, and Clare Gilbert

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2012

PUBLICATION:

Survey of Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 13 million children aged 5–15 years worldwide are visually impaired from uncorrected refractive error.

  • School vision screening programs can identify and treat or refer children with refractive error.

  • The study concentrates on the findings of various screening studies and attempt to identify key factors in the success and sustainability of such programs in the developing world. .

  • Inadequately corrected refractive error is an important global cause of visual impairment in childhood.

  • School-based vision screening carried out by teachers and other ancillary personnel may be an effective means of detecting affected children and improving their visual function with spectacles.

  • The need for services and potential impact of school-based programs varies widely between areas, depending on prevalence of refractive error and competing conditions and rates of school attendance.

  • Barriers to acceptance of services include the cost and quality of available refractive care and mistaken beliefs that glasses will harm children’s eyes.

  • Further research is needed in areas such as the cost-effectiveness of different screening approaches and impact of education to promote acceptance of spectacle-wear.

  • School vision programs should be integrated into comprehensive efforts to promote healthy children and their families.