Health and Schooling Evidence and Policy Implications for Developing Countries

  • Children’s visual problems have a substantial impact on both grade attainment and achievement.

  • Additionally, poor vision systematically leads to higher drop-out rates and to more grade repetition.


This study suggests that the “direct interactions between health status and education have been neglected in both research and policy making.”

Among the study’s findings is the importance of visual acuity in the schooling of children. Poor vision systematically leads to higher drop-out rates, to more grade repetition, and to lower achievement.

The authors state that the “pervasiveness and strength of this finding suggests a new focus for policy. This work has not considered the costs of testing or correcting visual problems. Nonetheless, the importance of this to the schooling of children suggests that programs in this area are likely to be very productive. Routine provision of eye examinations–for example, through simple eye chart testing by teachers—could identify where problems were important at a very low cost. While any programs for correction of problems would need further analysis, this should unquestionably be an important concern for policy makers. The prevalence of visual problems combined with substantial impacts on both grade attainment and achievement suggest that this should be a priority consideration.

Publication date

March 19, 2015


Economics of Education Review


Joao Batista Gomes-Neto
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