Spectacles hit marriage prospects

Young girls feel wearing spectacles would hamper their marriage prospects, a study in five government schools in Delhi has revealed. This reason was cited by 82% of the girls who didn't wear glasses despite poor vision.
The study was conducted by Maulana Azad Medical College among 1,075 children studying in classes 7 to nine. Of these, doctors found 120 children needed to wear spectacles.
A follow-up done around nine months later found that just 10 of them - or 8.33% - were wearing glasses regularly. To begin with, only 48 of the 120 children had agreed to wear spectacles, the rest refusing on various grounds.
Among children who weren't wearing their spectacles regularly, researchers said most of the girls confessed during focus group discussions that they felt wearing glasses would affect their chances of getting a good husband.
"Some of them said spectacles don't give a good look and the glass frame left a mark on the nose. Among boys, the biggest reason for not wearing spectacles was the prospect of getting teased by other students," said Dr Neeti Rustagi, the main author of the study published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Rustagi said one-third of the boys interviewed also felt that wearing spectacles compromised their look. There were also misconceptions like glasses can have harmful effect on the eyes.
Dr Devender Kumar Taneja, professor of community medicine at MAMC who led the study, said they screened students in five government schools to study the magnitude of visual impairment and assess the compliance of students for eye testing and use of spectacles. "About 2.9% of children screened had low vision in the better eye and 0.9% had poor vision."
According to Dr Mahipal Sachdev, medical director of Centre for Sight, children as young as 14 years old prefer to wear contact lenses. "In rural areas, many parents either can't afford it or don't know about such contact lenses."
Experts feel that not wearing glasses seriously compromises the eyesight of a child who has refractive error. "It affects their performance in schools and most of them end up with high power glasses as they grow old," says Dr
Sanjay Choudhary, who runs an eye institute in the capital.
A study published in The Lancet said a majority of adults in Asia suffer from near sightedness which could be caused due to spending too much time indoors, being glued to the TV or computer and unhealthy dietary practices.

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