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.
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Contributors LAH-G contributed to the design of the study and was accountable for data analysis and interpretation, preparation of the manuscript and final manuscript approval. MC-B contributed to the data analysis and interpretation and critical revision of the manuscript. JSR was accountable for the design of the study, data interpretation and critical revision of the manuscript and was the guarantor.
Funding LAH-G is supported by the Ulverscroft Vision Research Group (no award number). JSR is an National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator and is supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (no award numbers). All research at Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health is made possible by the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre.
Disclaimer The sponsors had no role in the design or conduct of this research. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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