Eye screen­ing catches kids who need glasses

Manawatu Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Eye screen­ing for kids from low decile schools is re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers to their learn­ing.

Eleven schools from Manawatu¯ , Horowhenua and Ran­gi­tikei re­sponded to eye screen­ing for their stu­dents.

Al­to­gether 314 stu­dents came to Palmer­ston North’s Takaro School in High­bury last week to have their eyes screened by Es­silor Foun­da­tion NZ.

Of the 314 stu­dents screened, 86 (27 per cent) will re­quire fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion while 228 (73 per cent) were given the all-clear.

EFNZ trustee Ku­muda Setty said the foun­da­tion’s head of­fice is in Paris and it had been op­er­at­ing in New Zealand for more than five years. “We have screened 7000 chil­dren from low-decile schools across New Zealand,” Setty said.

Es­silor NZ pa­tron, Ma­nurewa MP and for­mer Black Fern and Sil­ver Fern Louisa Wall was at Takaro.

“Eyes are tool for learn­ing. We want to find them (chil­dren) and part­ner with in­de­pen­dent op­tometrists to re­move the bar­ri­ers to learn­ing.

“Chil­dren don’t know what they don’t know,” Wall said of those stu­dents who were screened and found to have im­paired vi­sion.

At the screen­ing were seven in­de­pen­dent op­tometrists — Bruce Lit­tle and Divya An­thraper from Levin, Cherie Southall, Peter Giles and Maile Tarsau, Palmer­ston North, Ross Tay­lor Mar­ton and Adrian Pater­son, Hamil­ton. They were joined by five stu­dent op­tom­e­try vol­un­teers from Auckland Univer­sity.

Each of the chil­dren was tested and if their vi­sion was im­paired, they would be sent to an in­de­pen­dent op­tometrist with their re­sults.

Wall said the chil­dren were then is­sued with two pair of glasses and re­ceived them at a grad­u­a­tion.

“They keep one pair at home and one pair at school.”

Wall said there was a lot of col­lab­o­ra­tion and EFNZ was look­ing for host schools to carry out the first screen­ing.

“Ev­ery­one will come to them and see the in­de­pen­dent op­tometrists.”

Palmer­ston North in­de­pen­dent op­tometrist Maile Tarsau said they would like to screen all Year 5 and 6 stu­dents’ eyes ev­ery year.

Es­silor Foun­da­tion NZ chair­man Adrian Pater­son speaks with Mar­ton Junc­tion stu­dent Olivia Wise­man, 9 who was one of 314 stu­dents at Takaro School for eye screen­ing.

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