Washington, May 13 : Dumping your broad-framed specs because peers dub you as a 'geek'? Stop right there, for here's something that will certainly cheer you up - young kids tend to think that other kids with glasses look smarter than kids who don't wear them, according to a new study.
In the study, children between the ages of 6 and 10 were surveyed.
The participants also thought that kids wearing glasses looked more honest than children who don't wear glasses, the study found.
Otherwise, the survey suggested that children don't tend to judge the attractiveness of their peers who wear glasses when asked about their appearance, potential as a playmate or likely athletic abilities.
The findings might give children some comfort when they are fitted with their first pair of eyeglasses, said lead study author Jeffrey Walline, assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University.
"If the impression of looking smarter will appeal to a child, I would use that information and tell the child it is based on research," Walline said.
"Most kids getting glasses for the first time are sensitive about how they're going to look. Some kids simply refuse to wear glasses because they think they'll look ugly," he added.
Walline surveyed children in this age range because they are more likely to be prescribed eyeglasses than contact lenses. Teenagers were not surveyed because they are routinely fitted with contact lenses if they want them.
For the study, Walline and colleagues assembled a series of 24 pairs of pictures of children for comparison. The children in each pair differed by gender and ethnicity, and each pair included one child with glasses and one child without glasses.
On average, two thirds of the participating children said they thought that kids wearing glasses looked smarter than kids not wearing glasses. And 57 percent of the participants said they thought kids with glasses appeared to be more honest. Eighty young children - 42 girls and 38 boys - were surveyed. Of those, 30 kids (38 percent) wore glasses, 34 had at least one sibling with glasses and almost two-thirds had at least one parent who wore glasses.
The questionnaire featured six questions, many based on similar studies in adults. When presented with each pair of photos, the participants were asked which of the two children pictured: would you rather play with; looks smarter; looks better at playing sports; do you think is better looking; looks more shy; and looks more honest?
On average, two thirds of the participating children said they thought that kids wearing glasses looked smarter than kids not wearing glasses. And 57 percent of the participants said they thought kids with glasses appeared to be more honest. Both kids with and without glasses thought other kids wearing glasses looked smarter.
"The concern about attractiveness with glasses seems to be more internal to a particular child rather than an indicator of how they'll feel about other people who wear glasses," Walline said.
The study is published in the May issue of the journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.