An interesting study out of China highlights the connection between healthy vision and strong academic performance. According to this new study, schoolchildren who received free eyeglasses earlier in the year had stronger grades in math than those who received them later.
A group of scientists from around the world collected this data from over 30 schools in China’s Yongshou County. In total, 1,200 schoolchildren participated in this study.
Yongshou is a less industrialized region of China just an hour’s drive away from the famous city of Xi’an. Government officials in Yongshou recently created a vision center that was able to diagnose these 1,200 children with visual impairments and refer them to get proper treatment.
After the children visited an optometrist and got their formal diagnosis, the vision center gave them all free prescription eyeglasses. The schoolchildren received these glasses either in the middle or at the end of their term.
Study authors were able to assess how well these glasses affected academic performance by comparing math test results at the start and end of the year. Everyone who took a test at the beginning of the year did not have eyeglasses.
Researchers noticed a dramatic improvement in test scores from the children who got their eyeglasses sooner than those who received them at the end of the year. Study authors believe this indicates a strong correlation between vision health and academic performance.
This study makes it clear that untreated visual disorders can have negative effects on a student’s ability to learn. Researchers in the past have also found that children with untreated visual disorders are more prone to develop psychological problems and/or serious eye diseases later in life.
As mentioned above, the study authors involved in this research worked for many universities around the world including Stanford University, Queen’s University Belfast, and Shaanxi Normal University. Scientists from OneSight, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, and Orbis International were also involved in this study.
If you want to read more about this research, check out the latest edition of JAMA Ophthalmology. Authors entitled their study, “Effect of a Local Vision Care Center on Eyeglasses Use and School Performance in Rural China.”