Uncorrected refractive errors are the commonest cause of visual loss in children despite spectacle correction being highly cost-effective. Many affected children do not benefit from correction as a high proportion do not wear their spectacles. Reasons for non-wear include parental attitudes, overprescribing and children being teased/bullied. Most school programmes do not provide health education for affected children, their peers, teachers or parents.
The Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) will be used in this study. Peek has applications for measuring visual acuity with software for data entry and sending automated messages to inform providers and parents. Peek also has an application which simulates the visual blur of uncorrected refractive error (SightSim).
The hypothesis is that higher proportion of children with uncorrected refractive errors in schools allocated to the Peek educational package will wear their spectacles 3–4 months after they are dispensed, and a higher proportion of children identified with other eye conditions will access services, compared with schools receiving standard school screening.
Cluster randomized, double-masked trial of children with and without uncorrected refractive errors or other eye conditions. Government schools in Hyderabad, India will be allocated to intervention (Peek) or comparator (standard programme) arms before vision screening. In the intervention arm Peek will be used for vision screening, SightSim images will be used in classroom teaching and will be taken home by children, and voice messages will be sent to parents of children requiring spectacles or referral.
In both arms the same criteria for recruitment, prescribing and dispensing spectacles will be used. After 3–4 months children dispensed spectacles will be followed up to assess spectacle wear, and uptake of referrals will be ascertained.
The cost of developing and delivering the Peek package will be assessed. The cost per child wearing their spectacles or accessing services will be compared.
Educating parents, teachers and children about refractive errors and the importance of wearing spectacles has the potential to increase spectacle wear amongst children. Innovative, potentially scalable mobile technology (Peek) will be used to screen, provide health education, track spectacle wear and adherence to follow-up amongst children referred.
Controlled-Trials.com, ISRCTN78134921. Registered on 29 June 2016.