Parent, Teacher, and Student Perspectives on How Corrective Lenses Improve Child Wellbeing and School Function

Published in: Maternal and Child Health Journal, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on January 05, 2016

by Rebecca N. Dudovitz, Paul J. Chung, Wendy Slusser, Nilufar Izadpanah

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OBJECTIVES: Up to 20 % of school-age children have a vision problem identifiable by screening, over 80 % of which can be corrected with glasses. While vision problems are associated with poor school performance, few studies describe whether and how corrective lenses affect academic achievement and health. Further, there are virtually no studies exploring how children with correctable visual deficits, their parents, and teachers perceive the connection between vision care and school function. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative evaluation of Vision to Learn (VTL), a school-based program providing free corrective lenses to low-income students in Los Angeles. Nine focus groups with students, parents, and teachers from three schools served by VTL explored the relationships between poor vision, receipt of corrective lenses, and school performance and health. RESULTS: Twenty parents, 25 teachers, and 21 students from three elementary schools participated. Participants described how uncorrected visual deficits reduced students' focus, perseverance, and class participation, affecting academic functioning and psychosocial stress; how receiving corrective lenses improved classroom attention, task persistence, and willingness to practice academic skills; and how serving students in school rather than in clinics increased both access to and use of corrective lenses. Conclusions for Practice Corrective lenses may positively impact families, teachers, and students coping with visual deficits by improving school function and psychosocial wellbeing. Practices that increase ownership and use of glasses, such as serving students in school, may significantly improve both child health and academic performance.

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