School vision screening and eyeglass programs lead to eyeglass wearing compliance

February 22, 2021
Miranda Hester

Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.

Do school-based vision screenings and eyeglass delivery programs increase eyeglass wearing in children? An investigation offers some answers.

As research has confirmed the long-reaching impact of a child’s health in later life, a number of programs have been created to provide children from low-income families with access to nutrition and care to support better health outcomes. This drive has included the creation of school-based vision screenings and programs that give eyeglasses to low-income children who need them. An investigation in JAMA Ophthalmology looks into whether such programs lead to children consistently wearing the glasses, which can help with academic success.1

Researchers conducted a longitudinal cross-sectional study of eyeglass wear compliance among children aged 3 to 5 years who attended 51 Bay Area Head Start preschools in San Francisco, California. The research was conducted in the 2017 to 2018 school year and included students who had failed their vision screening and met predetermined refractive criteria following cycloplegic refraction. The children were given eyeglasses through the See Well to Learn program. Eyeglass wear compliance was measured through weekly reports from the teacher for the school year. Consistent eyeglass wear was defined as wearing the eyeglasses for more than 50% of every school day, which was designated as a compliance score of 4.

A total of 188 students were included in the study and 133 of those children had an average compliance score of 4 or higher throughout the school year. Additionally, compliance prevalence was relatively stable over the course of school year ranging from 139 students to 164 students. The baseline uncorrected visual acuity in better-seeing and worse-seeing eyes was the only factor assessed that had a link to compliance.

The researchers found that around 3 to 4 of the preschool students included in the study wore their glasses to school on a consistent basis during the first year of use. This consistency supports continual implementation of vision screening programs in preschool. Additionally, the findings highlight how school-based screening and eyeglass delivery can reduce the disparity that can occur in access to pediatric vision care.

Reference

1. Sabharwal S, Nakayoshi A, Lees C, Perez S, de Alba Campomanes A. Prevalence and factors associated with eyeglass wear compliance among preschoolers from low-income families in San Francisco, California. JAMA Ophthalmol. February 18, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.7053