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The Impact of Eyeglasses on the Academic Performance of Primary School Students: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural China


Glewwe, P., Park, A. and Zhao, M.





University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy


  • The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of eyeglasses on the academic performance of primary school students in China.

  • This was a randomized trial study of over 19000 students in 165 schools in 2 counties of Gansu province.

  • The availability of eyeglasses increased average test scores by 0.11 to 0.15 standard deviations.

  • The average test scores increased by 0.15 to 0.22 standard deviations for students who accepted the glasses.

  • Only 1066 (69.8%) of the 1528 students with poor vision in the program schools agreed to be fitted for eyeglasses.

  • About one third of the children, either they or their parents refused the offer of free eyeglasses.

  • In most developing countries children with vision problems do not have eyeglasses, especially at the primary level.

  • Programmes to promote wearing glasses for vision correction in primary schools are important.

This article was identified as a reference for a VII-commissioned systematic review on the Impact of URE on Children.