Thousands of low decile school children will be screened for undiagnosed eye conditions under a new charitable initiative.
The international charity, the Essilor Vision Foundation, hopes to screen more than 3,000 decile one and two primary and intermediate aged school students throughout the country this year.
An initial pilot study by Foundation optometrists in Hawke’s Bay found 42 percent of year 4-7 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.
The charity's work will begin this month in South Auckland where Manurewa MP Louisa Wall has helped coordinate four of the schools in her electorate.
Wall says she is grateful that the needs of so many children will be addressed through the initiative.
“It has been estimated that as much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes which makes good vision a key determinant of success at school. So it is vital all our children have the tools they need to read and to write in performing these daily visual tasks.
“When a child's vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer. We must remove all barriers to learning and I thank Essilor Vision Foundation for their commitment to making sure children who need glasses receive them,” she says.