A recent article published in Optometry and Vision Science evaluated the factors affecting whether or not parents seek eyecare for their children. The researchers interviewed 35 parents and 16 optometrists. Parents from all socioeconomic levels were included. Even though the study was performed in India, the results will ring true in almost any country in any part of the world.
Parents seek eyecare for their children when:
- the child is symptomatic and this is obvious to the parent — an eye is turned; the eye is red and/or “runny.”
- there are academic performance issues — letter reversals; inability to write in a straight line — the teacher suspects a vision problem.
- the child continually complains about blurry vision or headaches.
- there is a family history of eye and vision problems.
- the child failed a vision screening.
- parents understand the connection between vision and learning.
What are the barriers to seeking eyecare for children?
- Financial barriers — inability to afford eyecare.
- Logistical barriers — difficulty getting an appointment; inability to take time off from work; poor communication with doctors and medical facilities.
The authors listed a few additional barriers to seeking eyecare which are less universal but are more difficult to overcome:
- Family members with differing opinions about the child’s need for eyecare influence parental decisions.
- Poor literacy and awareness of eye problems among parents and other family members.
- Concern that wearing eyeglasses makes a child less beautiful.
COVD member doctors and therapists are ready to work with you to overcome these barriers; to educate you and your family members about the relationship between vision and learning. There is nothing more beautiful than a successful happy child wearing glasses!