Seeing is learning: Vision care for rural and migrant children in China
Livelihoods in rural areas
Uncorrected vision is prevalent among rural and migrant children in China with more than 20% of the children are nearsighted. Since 2012 the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) has carried out the largest empirical vision care project ever conducted in China and IAMO has been actively participating in the project.
More than 20,000 children in different parts of China have been screened and about 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been dispensed to those who are nearsighted. REAP has been able to put together a comprehensive picture of vision care for rural and migrant children in China and the successfully implemented project so far has provided valuable lessons for treating vision problems: wearing eyeglasses can improve children’s educational performance and self-confidence; wearing eyeglasses is not harmful to children’s vision and eye exercises have no effect on the onset or progression of myopia; teacher incentives to encourage children to wear eyeglasses will improve rates of eyeglasses usage.
Using these lessons, REAP is now working with local governments in rural China to incorporate vision care into the healthcare agenda.