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Do adolescents with impaired vision have different intentions and ambitions for their education, career and social outcomes compared to their peers? Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study


Background/aims To investigate if impaired vision adversely impacts the intentions/ambitions of adolescents concerning their future education, careers and social outcomes.

Methods Population-based birth cohort study in the UK comprising 9273 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study who were followed up to age 17 years. Children were classified as having normal vision or unilateral or bilateral impaired vision caused by significant eye conditions based on detailed parental-structured questionnaire data on sight problems and treatment coded by clinicians. Ten domains covering education, career and social outcomes by age 30 were investigated.

Results Adjusted regression models showed few differences by vision status. Bilateral impaired vision was associated with increased odds of intending to remain in full-time education after statutory school age (adjusted OR (aOR) 2.00, 95% CI 1.08 to 3.68) and of home ownership at age 30 (aOR 1.83, 95% CI 1.01 to 3.32). Impaired vision was not associated with intending to attend university. A significantly higher proportion of parents of children with bilateral or unilateral impaired vision thought that their child would not get the exam grades required to go to university than parents of those with normal vision (29% or 26% vs 16%, p=0.026).

Conclusion Adolescents with impaired vision have broadly the same intentions/ambitions regarding future education, careers and social outcomes as their peers with normal vision. The known significant gaps in attainment in these domains among young adults with vision impairment are therefore likely to be due to barriers that they face in achieving their ambitions. Improved implementation of existing interventions is necessary to ensure equality of opportunities.

  • Vision
  • Epidemiology

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