Effect of Providing Free Glasses on Children - Educational Outcomes in China: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

  • The study assessed the effects of providing free spectacles on school performance among rural Chinese children.

  • A sample of 3177 participants was selected from 252 primary schools, and 3052 participants completed the study.

  • 1036 (32.6%) children were randomized to control, 988 (31.1%) to vouchers, and 1153 (36.3%) to free glasses in class.

  • In the case group only 15% of participants wore glasses at baseline, at the end of the study 41% (observed) wore glasses and 68% (self-reported) wore glasses

  • In the control group 26% (observed) and 37% (self-reported) wore glasses.

  • When the case group was compared with the control group effect on test scores revealed 0.11 SD (95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.21).

  • The adjusted effect of providing free glasses (0.10, 0.002 to 0.19) was greater than parental education (0.03, −0.04 to 0.09) or family wealth (0.01, −0.06 to 0.08).

This article was identified as a reference for a VII-commissioned systematic review on the Impact of URE on Children.

Publication date

February 2, 2016


British Medical Journal


X. Ma, Z. Zhou, H. Yi, X Pang, Y. Shi, Q. Chen, M. E. Meltzer, S. le Cessie, M. He, S. Rozelle, Y. Liu, N. Congdon
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