A Qualitative Assessment of the Experiences with Eye Health and Barriers to Eyeglasses among U.S. Youth
Uncorrected refractive error significantly impacts the visual health of youth in the U.S., leading to profound consequences for academic performance, workplace productivity, and overall quality of life. To address this issue, researchers sought to understand youth experiences with eye health, their perception of the value of vision, and the barriers they face in obtaining refractive correction. A nationwide sample of U.S. youth participated in an open-ended poll, yielding responses from 88.3% of the recipients. The study identified four major themes from the responses: First, a significant number of youth reported experiencing eye or eyesight problems. Second, the majority of youth highly valued their eyesight, recognizing its importance in today's digital world. Third, common reasons for not wearing glasses included concerns about appearance, cost, inconvenience, and discomfort. Lastly, a considerable number of youth were open to purchasing eyeglasses online. These findings highlight appearance, cost, inconvenience, and discomfort as significant barriers preventing youth from wearing eyeglasses. Addressing these barriers requires a coordinated effort from multiple sectors to ensure that youth have access to affordable, convenient, and comfortable eyeglasses. By overcoming these obstacles, interventions can improve the visual health and well-being of U.S. youth, positively impacting their academic and personal lives.