Charity screens children’s eyes and provides glasses if needed
One in three Kiwi children have undiagnosed vision problems.
An initial pilot study found 42 per cent of year 4 to 7 students at a decile one school were living with a range of eyesight conditions, raising concerns there could be thousands more struggling to see clearly.
A New Zealand registered charity Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) screened thousands of low decile Kiwi children around the country and those who have a vision condition will be referred to a local optometrist.
If the condition requires treatment such as prescription glasses these will be provided for free by EVF.
They will presented to them as part of a special school ceremony designed to
encourage peer support so they wear the glasses. A spare pair will also be provided. Optometrists from around the country have committed to providing their time free, to investigate and address vision problems among these primary-aged children.
EVF donates the frames and lenses in addition to the optometrists services.
Optometrists will visit schools and use specialised equipment to screen for a wide range of conditions, including long and short sightedness, astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia, all of which can present significant barriers to a child’s learning.
Children’s eyes are not sufficiently matured until nine to 12 years, which is when eyecare practitioners are able to pick up additional conditions.