June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Barriers to Wearing Eyeglasses Among U.S. Youth
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • OLIVIA KILLEEN
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Amani Mubeen
    University of Michigan College of Literature Science and the Arts, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Anne Claus
    University of Michigan College of Literature Science and the Arts, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Lydia Kim
    University of Michigan College of Literature Science and the Arts, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Juno Cho
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Sarah Raven
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Grace Wang
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Maria A Woodward
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Paula Anne Newman-Casey
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Tammy Chang
    Family Medicine, University of Michigan Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   OLIVIA KILLEEN None; Amani Mubeen None; Anne Claus None; Lydia Kim None; Juno Cho None; Sarah Raven None; Grace Wang None; Maria Woodward None; Paula Anne Newman-Casey None; Tammy Chang None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Support for this publication was provided by the University of Michigan National Clinician Scholars Program.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 2806 – A0136. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      OLIVIA KILLEEN, Amani Mubeen, Anne Claus, Lydia Kim, Juno Cho, Sarah Raven, Grace Wang, Maria A Woodward, Paula Anne Newman-Casey, Tammy Chang; Barriers to Wearing Eyeglasses Among U.S. Youth. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):2806 – A0136.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Uncorrected refractive error (URE) is the most common cause of visual impairment in youth. We aimed to identify barriers to wearing eyeglasses among a contemporary sample of U.S. youth.

Methods : A five question, open-ended poll about experiences with eye problems, refractive correction, and reasons youth do not wear eyeglasses if they need them was distributed to the MyVoice Text Message Cohort of U.S. youth aged 14–24 years (www.hearmyvoicenow.org). Respondent demographics were analyzed. Low socioeconomic status (SES) was defined as receiving free or reduced-price lunch. Text message responses were coded using a modified grounded theory approach.

Results : Out of 1204 recipients, 88.3% (n=1063) responded. Mean age was 20.3 ±2.4 years (range 15-24 years); 58.8% (n=625) were male; 74.0% (n=787) were white; and 41.4% (n=440) had low SES. Many (65.8%; n=699) had experienced trouble with their eyesight, including need for eyeglasses or contacts (63.6%; n=676) or medical eye problems (14.9%; n=158). Some youth (2.4%; n=21) reported vision problems consistent with URE that impacted daily life, e.g. "I've been having blurry vision and not seeing clearly for a while now and I'm worried since I'm driving." Some (14.2%; n=96) had discontinued eyeglasses or contacts, often because youth felt they no longer needed refractive correction (51.0%; n=49; e.g. "I stopped because my eyesight got better"), they were a hassle (14.6%; n=14; e.g. "I no longer use them because they need a lot of care and that annoys me"), or they were lost, broken, or expired (14.6%; n=14; e.g. "I don't wear them anymore because I had broken them about 5-6 years ago"). Concerns over appearance (52.0%; n=553; e.g. "they look dorky") and cost (16.1%; n=171; e.g. "the cost of glasses can be expensive especially without insurance") were the most common reasons youth might not wear eyeglasses if they needed them.

Conclusions : Major barriers to correcting refractive error among U.S. youth include cosmesis and cost. Future work should focus on making eyeglasses and contact lenses that are not only appealing, but also affordable for U.S. youth.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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