Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Vision screening of adolescents and their use of glasses.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 28 April 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1111
  1. C S Peckham,
  2. P A Gardiner,
  3. A Tibbenham


    Vision screening was performed in over 11 000 16-year-olds who were taking part in the National Child Development Study. For distance vision 75% had normal acuity, 9% a minor defect, and 16% a more severe unilateral or bilateral defect. For near vision 85% had normal vision, 8% a minor defect, and 7% a unilateral or bilateral defect. Few children (62) with normal distant vision had defects in near vision, though many more (607) had both poor distant vision and poor near vision. Vision defects were more common in girls than in boys and occurred more often in adolescents from non-manual than manual families. Athough 18% of children had been prescribed glasses for current use, a third did not have their glasses available at the examination: 27% of the children prescribed glasses had normal unaided distant visual acuity or only a minor defect, and they constituted 42% of those who were not wearing their glasses. Further investigation is needed into the criteria on which glasses are prescribed for children and into the reasons for which they are not worn.