How does a pair of near-vision spectacle correction empower older Zanzibari craftswomen?: A qualitative study on perception

PLoS One. 2023 May 26;18(5):e0286315. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0286315. eCollection 2023.


Background: Studies have shown that correcting presbyopia among women could increase short-term income and quality of life. However, it is unclear whether these short-term outcomes translate to long-term empowerment. This is partly due to women's empowerment being under-studied in the eye health field. Hence, we attempted to understand Zanzibari craftswomen's perception of how near-vision spectacle correction could empower them.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 craftswomen with presbyopia (7 to 21 April 2022), identified from Zanzibari cooperatives using quota and heterogeneity sampling. We included a sample of tailors, beaders/weavers, and potters who were 40 years and older. Directed content analysis was performed on interview transcripts.

Results: Two themes and seven sub-themes emerged from the data. Craftswomen perceived that at the personal level, near-vision spectacle correction could improve their economic empowerment (better income and savings and buying things for themselves), psychological empowerment (more self-confidence and decision-making), political empowerment (taking up leadership roles), and educational empowerment (acquiring new skills). At a relational level, they perceived that near-vision spectacle correction could bring about economic empowerment (ability to buy things for the family), social empowerment (ability to participate in social activities), and educational empowerment (ability to educate other women).

Conclusion: Older craftswomen perceived that correcting near vision could empower them at personal and relational levels that encompass economic, psychological, social, political and educational empowerment. The findings laid the foundation for future research into eye health and women's empowerment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Perception
  • Presbyopia*
  • Quality of Life
  • Tanzania

Grants and funding

YES. VFC. NPO 6240 R8898CPH Novartis (Excellence in Ophthalmology and Vision Award, XOVA) The funder did not play any role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.