This study aims to understand the key factors influencing guardians’ decisions when purchasing spectacles for their children in semi-urban and urban areas of Cross River State, Nigeria, where a spectacle cross-subsidisation scheme will be implemented.
This cross-sectional study was conducted among all consecutive guardians visiting the Calabar (urban), Ugep, Ikom and Ogoja (semi-urban) public eye clinics in Cross River State, southern Nigeria, from August 1 to October 31 2019, and whose children had significant refractive errors (myopia ≤-0.50D, hyperopia ≥1.50D, astigmatism >0.75D) and received spectacles. Guardians were interviewed using a questionnaire which included i) close-ended questions on reasons guardians choose to purchase spectacles for their children in eye clinics, ii) guardians’ perceptions of the quality and design of children’s current spectacle, iii) factors most heavily influencing their choice of spectacles for children, and iv) open-ended questions to seek guardians’ suggestions on how to improve the current spectacle range.
All 137 eligible guardians (67.2% women [n = 92]) who visited the selected eye clinics participated in the study (response rate = 100%), with 109 (79.6%) from semi-urban and 28 (20.4%) attending urban clinics. Guardians from both urban and semi-urban clinics prioritised frame design, quality, and material as the main factors affecting their decision when purchasing spectacles for their children. Female guardians and those with higher incomes were both 1.5 times more likely to emphasise frame quality when describing selection criteria for purchasing spectacles for their children than male guardians (p = 0.01) or guardians earning less (p = 0.03).
Design, material, and frame quality are key factors influencing guardians when purchasing spectacles for their children in these setting and female guardians or those with higher income prioritise frame quality. This study could guide the planning and implementation of a novel cross-subsidisation scheme in Cross River State.