A study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that even though students in schools without glasses may experience better academic performance, the glasses-free environment is still not a good idea.
“It is also important to note that many schools, such as middle schools, do not have glasses for students who wear them,” the researchers wrote.
“This may lead to less than optimal outcomes.”
The researchers used data from the American Community Survey from 2000 to 2012 to find out which schools in the U.S. had the lowest rates of glasses-less environments.
Their results showed that while some schools had the highest rates of poor academic outcomes, other schools had very similar rates of high rates of eyestrain.
The most deprived schools had an overall score of -16, and the least deprived had an average score of just -15.
“The results demonstrate that in a school environment where the primary goal is to enhance learning outcomes, a high percentage of the students who use eyewear will experience poor learning outcomes,” the authors wrote.
In the most deprived districts, the researchers found that almost half of students reported that they had worn their glasses for at least five minutes.
Students in schools with the lowest levels of glasses use glasses for two hours or less per day.
In schools with high rates, students in the most disadvantaged schools were more likely to report wearing their glasses.
This is particularly important for students with special needs, the study found.
“Students with disabilities who wear eyewears for longer periods of time may also experience difficulty in the classroom, and may also have difficulty in completing learning activities,” the study said.
“Therefore, we recommend that school-based efforts be directed toward addressing the specific needs of students with disabilities and students with a wide range of visual impairments.”
It is not clear if these schools are better equipped to serve these students, but the research indicates that schools should have more options for ensuring a safe environment.