Prevalence of Uncorrected Vision

Having screened about 30,000 children in different parts of the country, REAP has been able to put together a comprehensive picture of uncorrected vision in China. The news is not good: only about one in seven children in rural and migrant areas needing glasses actually has them.


As part of our work, we distribute glasses for free to needy children. To date we’ve given out about 8,000 pairs of high quality glasses.


The first step of our vision care work was to determine the scale of the problem of uncorrected vision. Our first data set came from Yulin and Tianshui prefectures in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, respectively.

Urban Migrant Elementary School Students

Some suggest that when rural families move to cities, their children will be more likely to acquire a pair of glasses.

It turns out that eyeglasses ownership among migrant children is just as low as it is with rural children.

Rural Middle School Students

Some may believe that even though many rural elementary school students do not have glasses, if they need them they will eventually get them when they enter middle school.

REAP’s data from 2013 reveal that this is not the case.

Myopia progresses with age, so REAP expected the higher rates of poor vision they found among middle school students: 57% compared to 24% among elementary school children.

But there was also a surprise in the findings—and not a pleasant one.

Of the 57% of rural middle school students who were nearsighted, only 10% wore glasses.

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