The Impact of Eyeglasses on the Academic Performance of Primary School Students: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural China

  • The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of eyeglasses on the academic performance of primary school students in China.

  • This was a randomized trial study of over 19000 students in 165 schools in 2 counties of Gansu province.

  • The availability of eyeglasses increased average test scores by 0.11 to 0.15 standard deviations.

  • The average test scores increased by 0.15 to 0.22 standard deviations for students who accepted the glasses.

  • Only 1066 (69.8%) of the 1528 students with poor vision in the program schools agreed to be fitted for eyeglasses.

  • About one third of the children, either they or their parents refused the offer of free eyeglasses.

  • In most developing countries children with vision problems do not have eyeglasses, especially at the primary level.

  • Programmes to promote wearing glasses for vision correction in primary schools are important.

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

Publication date

December 7, 2016


University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy


Glewwe, P., Park, A. and Zhao, M.
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