The Impact of Uncorrected Refractive Error on Children: A Systematic Review

  • The recognition of uncorrected refractive error (URE) as the major cause of vision impairment globally, particularly in children, has highlighted the need for evidence that can inform policy, service delivery and research. A systematic review that addresses these issues in children will add to the much needed body of evidence.

  • The objective of this study was to summarise relevant evidence investigating the impact of URE on children and the impact of correcting refractive error on children.

  • Participants in the study were children (5-18 years) and undergraduate students (18-21 years) globally.

  • The research team systematically searched 13 databases and the reference lists of retrieved studies. The methodology employed adhered to the PRISMA statement. Assessment of the quality of full text articles for inclusion in the review synthesis applied the use of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Guidelines and the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tools. As the studies were anticipated to be heterogenous a meta-analysis was not planned. The findings of the review are reported using descriptive narrative.

  • The main Outcome Measures of the study were Quality of life (visual functioning, well-being, headaches and risk of accidents), psychosocial impact (sleep disorder and self-esteem), educational (literacy, reading ability and academic performance), and negative impacts (teasing and bullying or discrimination).

  • The search retrieved 6,007 studies of which 21 met the inclusion criteria. Of the 21 studies selected for inclusion in the review, two were randomised control trials (RCTs), four were cohort studies, one had a case control design, two were qualitative studies, 15 studies employed a cross-sectional design and one was an ecological study. Five studies included more than one design type.

To download the full study, click here: Impact of URE on children FINAL

To download the summary, click here: Summary of URE on children

Publication date

July 22, 2020

Sponsor Institution

Commissioned by the Vision Impact Institute


Jyoti Naidoo, Clare Gilbert, Nyika Mtemeri, Iris Gordon, Farai Chinanayi, Sheri Morgan, Peter Clarke-Farr, Percy Mashige, Kovin Naidoo
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