Char­ity screens chil­dren’s eyes and pro­vides glasses if needed

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS -

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.

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