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School-Based Vision Program Has Positive Impact on Reading

Positive impact on reading seen for female students, those in special education, those in lowest quartile at baseline

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THURSDAY, Sept. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A school-based vision program, which provides eye examinations and eye glasses to students, has a one-year positive impact on reading scores, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Amanda J. Neitzel, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the effect of a school-based vision program on academic achievement in students in grades 3 to 7. Participating Baltimore City Public Schools were randomly assigned to receive eye examinations and eye glasses during one of three school years (2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019). Data were included for 2,304 students with a mean age of 9.4 years.

The researchers found an overall one-year positive impact as measured by the i-Ready reading test during school year 2016 to 2017 (effect size, 0.09). During school year 2016 to 2017, female students, those in special education, and those who performed in the lowest quartile at baseline had a positive impact on i-Ready reading (effect sizes, 0.15, 0.25, and 0.28, respectively); a positive impact was also seen for students in elementary grades on i-Ready mathematics (effect size, 0.03). The intervention did not have a sustained impact at two years.

"We rigorously demonstrated that giving kids the glasses they need helps them succeed in school," a coauthor said in a statement. "This collaborative project with Johns Hopkins, Baltimore City, and its partners has major implications for advancing health and educational equity all across the country."

One author disclosed financial ties to Warby Parker, a company that manufactures the eyeglasses provided in the Baltimore vision program.

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