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The Impact of Providing Vision Screening and Free Eyeglasses on Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Title 1 Elementary Schools


Paul Glewwe, Kristine West and Jongwook Lee






  • The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of enhanced vision services provided by a local non-profit organization to Title 1 elementary schools in three large central Florida school districts.

  • A randomized control trial was done to evaluate the vision of 4th and 5th grade students.

  • A high percentage of students assessed need glasses but either do not have them or have them but do not wear them frequently.

  • 1,760 of the 5,747 students failed the screening and probably have untreated vision problems.

  • 86% of the students who fail a screening in the screen-only schools need glasses to have their vision corrected.

  • At least one in four students in low-income schools have untreated (or undertreated) vision problems.

  • The lack of information and/or lack of access to vision care are the reasons for low vision among low-income students in central Florida.

  • No evidence for vision problems effect on students’ academic performance as students with vision or without problems tend to have similar test scores.