Uncorrected refractive error in children is associated with many negative effects, including morbidity, vision impairment and poor growth. Spectacles are the most cost-effective intervention, but compliance remains an issue, especially among kids. Researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis to formulate two specific recommendations to address poor compliance with spectacle use among children: provide health education and strengthen vision care.

A pair of investigators independently researched a handful of databases, to find 23 relevant studies, 20 of which were included in the quantitative analysis. These studies included a total of 7,859 pediatric subjects ranging in age from preschool to the end of schooling. Such a vast age-range created significant variability in the results, the authors noted in their paper.

The team discovered that the overall compliance rate with spectacle use was 40.14%, adding that compliance varied from 9.84% to 78.57%. They added that reasons for non-compliance included broken or lost spectacles, forgetfulness and parental disapproval. Other concerns included headache, teasing and a dislike for spectacles in general.

“This issue needs to be addressed through behavioral motivation of children, parents and the society,” the study authors concluded in their paper. “This review can help stakeholders and program managers in defining health care interventions to improve compliance with spectacle use.”

Dhirar N, Dudeja S, Duggal M, et al. Compliance to spectacle use in children with refractive errors—a systemic review and meta-analysis. BMC Ophthalmol. February 24, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].