Low Vision in a Prison Population

The incidence and significance of low visual acuity in a prison population

Brian R. Ariel MSc, FCOptom, FAAO and Donald F.C. Loran MSc, FCOptom, AMCT, DCLP

From the introduction:

Important risk factors for offending include low attainment, poor family supervision, delinquent peers, low family income and large family sizes. Persistent offenders are typically from inner cities; low social classes, drug misusers and are often poor achievers1-5. It is probable that many prisoners are from a deprived background and are unlikely to have benefited from high quality childhood welfare, including preventative eyecare.

Approximately one third of the prisoners recorded a VA of 6/9 or less in one or both eyes compared to 11.4% in the control group.

Conclusion

The prevalence of vision deficiency among the prison population is high. If vision deficiency is one reason, albeit one of many, for criminal behaviour, it could and should be minimised by frequent eye examinations in the formative years.

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