Vision loss in childhood can result in decades of life spent impaired. A significant cause of vision loss in children globally is uncorrected refractive errors, which is expected to rise with increasing urbanisation.
While the provision of spectacles is a highly cost-effective treatment, many parents and guardians in Cambodia are unable to pay market prices for children’s spectacles or may risk facing financial hardship. Identifying strategies for removing or reducing financial barriers may increase access to spectacles for children with uncorrected refractive errors.
We recently conducted a study in Cambodia that examined how much parents and guardians were willing to pay for children’s spectacles. We found that almost half of parents/guardians interviewed were unwilling to pay the current average market price for spectacles for their children, with ‘cost’ being the most commonly reported barrier.
Eye health is integral to advancing sustainable development, and no family should experience financial hardship as a result of seeking eye care for their children. Including children’s spectacles in universal health coverage packages in Cambodia may help children with vision loss due to uncorrected refractive errors unlock their full potential because of the positive role of good eye health on educational attainment and well-being.