All REAP Publications Journal Articles Risk Management and Healthcare Policy

Effects of Vision Health Education and Free Eyeglasses on Knowledge of Vision and Usage of Spectacles Among Primary School Students: Evidence from Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces in China

Background

In rural China, children’s vision problems are very common, with many who would benefit from refractive correction not getting the care they need. This study examines whether a health information campaign that involves vision health education and a free trial of health product with free eyeglasses is effective at raising students’ awareness of myopia and promoting students’ eyeglasses usage.

Methods

We conducted an in-the-field randomized controlled experiment of a program providing vision health education and subsidized free eyeglasses to myopic children from 168 primary schools in rural Northwestern China in 2012.

Results

A total of 2189 students, mean age 10.5 years (49.3% male), participated in the baseline survey. At the baseline, the average correct response rate for visual knowledge among the sample students was 30.1%, and only 15% who needed eyeglasses used them. Seven months after intervention, the average correct response rate for vision knowledge were 48.5% and 48.3% in the education group and the education plus free eyeglasses group respectively, significantly higher than that of the control group. The rate of eyeglasses usage was 36% and 43% in the free eyeglasses group and the education plus free eyeglasses group respectively, significantly higher than that of the control group. The rate of eyeglasses compliance in the free eyeglasses group and the education plus free eyeglasses group was 19% and 26%, which also were significantly higher than the control group.

Conclusion

The information campaign combined with subsidized eyeglasses had a better effect both on vision knowledge and eyeglasses usage. The information campaign improved knowledge by providing the right information, and free eyeglasses changed the perceived utility and experience by the students using the product and getting benefits. Information and the free eyeglasses (subsidized) are complements.

April 9, 2021