Children are believe to have different perceptions of people who wear glasses, both on peers and self; the results that often make different eye practitioners tend to wait till children are in their early teens before they could be prescribed eyeglasses and contract lenses.
Among some of the researchers who studied children’s perception of people who wear glasses, are Francine C. Jellesma and Jeffrey Walline, assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University. They conducted separate studies focusing on the negative stereotypes children endorse about people who wear glasses and children’s global self-worth respectively.
“The effects really seem to be in areas that we would think made sense – how they feel about their appearance, athletic abilities and what their friends think of them,” Walline said.
Jellesma conducted a literature review on 28 relevant and related studies published since 1980. Some salient issues were noticed covering the effects of glasses on peer-and self-perception. For example, a study on Eyeglasses and children’s schemata found out that children were less interested in having relationship with peers who wear glasses. Surprisingly, another one was on how children asked to draw a smart person or a scientist tend to go for person wearing glasses, but, wouldn’t attempt doing this for a stupid person. This tells how some some children tend to associate the wearing of glasses with superior intelligence.
In Walline’s research which was published in the journal ‘Optometry and Vision Science.’ The research which lasted for three years was conducted on 484 nearsighted children between the ages of 8 and 11 to examine the effects of contact lenses vs eyeglasses on a number of kids’ perceptions about themselves i.e. how valuable they think they are to society. 237 children were assigned eyeglasses and the other 247 randomly assigned disposable soft contact lenses.
Contact lens wearers reported better perceptions about their own appearance than did kids wearing eyeglasses, Walline reports. In detail, children with contact lenses felt more accepted by their friends than did those wearing eyeglasses. Additionally, those who had disliked their glasses ended up feeling more confident when contact lenses were assigned to them.
Morealso, while checking children’s self-perception of their own glass-wearing, Jellesma found that children are so reluctant to wear glasses, especially in urban areas, due to fear of being bullied. Then proposed that glass-wearing media role models could help improve the self-esteem of glass-wearing children.
F.C. Jellesma. Do glasses change children’s perceptions? European Journal of Developmental Psychology
Terry RL, Stockton LA.: Eyeglasses and children’s schemata.
Jeffrey Walline, Lisa Jones: Kids with contact lenses like their looks better than kids with glasses.