Youth eye screen­ing rev­e­la­tion

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - ESSILOR VI­SION FOUNDATION

A mas­sive 30 per cent of chil­dren tested at low decile schools in Toko­roa have been found to have an un­di­ag­nosed eye con­di­tion.

Around 300 chil­dren from low decile schools were screened un­der the Essilor Vi­sion Foundation’s char­i­ta­ble ini­tia­tive which is hop­ing to screen more than 3,000 decile one and two pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate aged school stu­dents through­out the coun­try by the end of the year.

An ini­tial pi­lot study by Foundation op­tometrists in Hawke’s Bay found 42 per cent of year 4-6 stu­dents at such schools were liv­ing with a range of eye­sight con­di­tions, rais­ing con­cerns there could be thou­sands more strug­gling to see clearly.

Stu­dents from eight lo­cal schools gath­ered at Toko­roa North School re­cently to un­dergo screen­ing which was ini­ti­ated by Louisa Wall, MP for Ma­nurewa and Rowan­dale School deputy prin­ci­pal Lois Haw­ley-sim­monds. Both have been work­ing with the Essilor Vi­sion Foundation in South Auck­land, help­ing to ar­range screen­ings for their lo­cal school.

Wall and Haw­ley-sim­monds sug­gested Toko­roa as a screen­ing lo­ca­tion be­cause of the high num­ber of low decile schools in the area.

She said she was grate­ful so many schools within Toko­roa had taken the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved.

‘‘All chil­dren across all of our com­mu­ni­ties should be given the op­por­tu­nity to be screened. There is a clear link be­tween eye is­sues and aca­demic achieve­ment, so to be able to rec­tify any prob­lems at this stage will help even the play­ing field for these chil­dren,’’ she said.

Op­tometrists from Pater­son Burn Group vol­un­teered their time to screen the kids.

Adrian Pater­son, who is the cur­rent Chair­man for the board of EVF, said the find­ings were ex­pected.

‘‘Al­though most chil­dren have a ba­sic eye­sight test when they start school, their eyes don’t ma­ture un­til around the age of nine - at that stage our equip­ment can iden­tify pre­vi­ously un­di­ag­nosed vi­sion con­di­tions,’’ he said.

The stu­dents have all been re­ferred for fur­ther di­ag­no­sis.

The eyes of around 300 Toko­roa chil­dren were screened un­der the Essilor Vi­sion Foundation’s ini­tia­tive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.