Impact of Free Glasses and a Teacher Incentive on Children's Use of Eyeglasses: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial.

Hongmei Yi, Haiqing Zhang, Xiaochen Ma, Linxiu Zhang, Xiuqin Wang, Ling Jin, Kovin Naidoo, Hasan Minto, Haidong Zou, Lina Lu, Scott Rozelle, Nathan Congdon

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Purpose: To study the effect of free glasses combined with teacher incentives on in-school glasses wear among Chinese urban migrant children. Design: Cluster-randomized controlled trial. Methods: Children with VA <= 6/12 in either eye due to refractive error in 94 randomly-chosen primary schools underwent randomization by school to receive free glasses, education on their use and a teacher incentive (Intervention), or glasses prescriptions only (Control). Intervention group teachers received a tablet computer if >= 80% of children given glasses wore them during un-announced visits 6 weeks and 6 months (main outcome) after intervention. Results: Among 4376 children, 728 (16.7%, mean age 10.9 years, 51.0% boys) met enrollment criteria and were randomly allocated, 358 (49.2%, 47 schools) to Intervention and 370 (50.8%, 47 schools) to Control. Among these, 693 children (95.2%) completed the study and underwent analysis. Spectacle wear was significantly higher at 6 months among Intervention children (Observed [main outcome]: 68.3% versus 23.9%, Adjusted Odds Ratio [OR]=11.5, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 5.91-22.5, P<0.001; Self-reported: 90.6% versus 32.1%, OR = 43.7, 95% CI = 21.7-88.5, P < 0.001). Other predictors of observed wear at 6 months included baseline spectacle wear (P<0.001), uncorrected VA<6/18 (P=0.01) and parental spectacle wear (P=0.02). The 6-month observed wear rate was only 41% among similar-aged children provided free glasses in our previous trial without teacher incentives. Conclusions: Free spectacles and teacher incentives maintain classroom wear in the large majority of children needing glasses over a school year. Low wear among Control children demonstrates the need for interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-896
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number5
Early online date12 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • myopia
  • children
  • eyeglasses
  • China
  • migrant
  • compliance
  • teacher incentive

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