Poor vision can be a factor in poor school performance, Dr. Harrie said, which can lead an increased likelihood of dropping out and becoming involved in crime.
While his research does not identify a causal relationship between poor vision and delinquency, Dr. Harrie recalls a phone call he received one Sunday evening from the detention center that provided some insight into the situation.
A 15-year-old boy was out of control in the detention center and was so violent that he needed to be put into isolation. The officers called Dr. Harrie because the boy was saying that he could not see and was afraid of being attacked.
“I came down and checked him, and he was really pretty bad,” Dr. Harrie said. “He was about a -5, which would translate on the eye chart to the top of the chart, or even worse. I had some glasses of that power so I just put them on and it was an instant transformation.”
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The boy immediately calmed down and was able to be put back in the general unit because he wasn’t feeling threatened.
Since he published his research, Dr. Harrie is working on conducting a follow up study to discover if there is a correlation between the severity of the crime committed with the intensity of the vision problem.
All images are courtesy of Roger Harrie, MD