Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

Research at PESD

Seeing is Learning - Access to Vision Care: Rural vs. Urban

REAP Project

REAP’s research on uncorrected vision in both rural and urban settings reveal a high percentage of China’s rural and migrant children need glasses.

While health care education and services in remote, rural areas are often lacking, some may be surprised by the high rate of uncorrected vision in urban migrant communities. With migrant workers making over three times more on average than their rural counterparts and their proximity to higher-quality urban health and education facilities, why are nearsighted migrant children also without glasses?

In China, households are registered as rural or urban. When rural residents migrate to urban areas, they are not able to access public health care services or even public education. The alternative is often worse than in rural settings. This, we estimate, is why eyeglasses ownership among migrant children is just as low as it is with rural children.