Interventions to Improve School-Based Eye-Care Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review
This study reviews interventions improving eye-care services for schoolchildren in low- and middle-income countries.
Of 24 559 publications screened, 48 articles from 13 countries met the inclusion criteria. Factors involved in the successful provision of school-based eye-care interventions included communication between health services and schools, the willingness of schools to schedule sufficient time, and the support of principals, staff and parents.
Several studies found that where the numbers of eye-care specialists are insufficient, training teachers in vision screening enables the provision of a good-quality and cost–effective service.
As well as the cost of spectacles, barriers to seeking eye-care included poor literacy, misconceptions and lack of eye health knowledge among parents.
The review concluded that the provision of school-based eye-care programmes has great potential to reduce ocular morbidity and developmental delays caused by childhood vision impairment and blindness. Policy-based support, while also attempting to reduce misconceptions and stigma among children and their parents, is crucial for continued access.