Keeping an eye on students' vision

'Brilliant' project changing children’s lives for the better.

'Brilliant' project changing children’s lives for the better.

EYE TESTS: Labour MP Manurewa Louisa Wall looks on as Gisborne optometrist Steve Stenersen checks Jahn Niwa-Karaka’s eyes as part of a nationwide campaign to identify young students who need vision correction. Picture by Liam Clayton

MORE than 200 Gisborne area primary students had their eyes screened at Gisborne Girls High School on Friday as part of a nationwide effort to help identify children who need their vision corrected.

The students came from Manutuke, Whangara, Te Hapara, Ormond, Central and Te Karaka Area School. Out of 246 children screened 54 (22 percent) have been referred for secondary screenings.

Nearly 30 percent of primary school students nationwide have an undiagnosed eye problem, and 15 percent of those require glasses.

The screenings were organised by the Mau Mohiti Initiative in conjunction with the Essilor Vision Foundation.

Optometrists from around the country volunteered their time to offer free eye screenings and follow up care for students in Gisborne.

All screenings, including secondary screenings and glasses, were free to students and their families.

Gisborne-based New Zealand police Maori responsiveness advisor Whiti Timutimu, who established the Mau Mohiti Initiative, said academic achievement and eyesight go hand in hand.

Link between sight and academic achievement

“There is a clear link between eye issues and academic achievement,” she said.

“So to be able to rectify any problems at this stage will help even the playing field for these children.”

Labour MP for Manurewa and spokesperson for youth affairs, Louisa Wall, attended the Gisborne screenings and said the purpose was to remove all barriers to learning.

“If you can’t see and can’t read then you can’t learn,” she said.

Steven Stenersen of Stenersen Kain Opticians said he was happy to be part of the “brilliant” project and believed it had changed children’s lives.

“All these children who have missed out in the past now have a chance,” he said.

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

Optometrist Adrian Peterson flew with his team from Hamilton to help screen the children and said it was good to be part of something that was making such a positive change.

“It’s a big thing,” he said.

Screenings have been held around the country with the goal of screening 3000 children in 2016. The Essilor Vision Foundation hopes to screen 4000 students in 2017.

MORE than 200 Gisborne area primary students had their eyes screened at Gisborne Girls High School on Friday as part of a nationwide effort to help identify children who need their vision corrected.

The students came from Manutuke, Whangara, Te Hapara, Ormond, Central and Te Karaka Area School. Out of 246 children screened 54 (22 percent) have been referred for secondary screenings.

Nearly 30 percent of primary school students nationwide have an undiagnosed eye problem, and 15 percent of those require glasses.

The screenings were organised by the Mau Mohiti Initiative in conjunction with the Essilor Vision Foundation.

Optometrists from around the country volunteered their time to offer free eye screenings and follow up care for students in Gisborne.

All screenings, including secondary screenings and glasses, were free to students and their families.

Gisborne-based New Zealand police Maori responsiveness advisor Whiti Timutimu, who established the Mau Mohiti Initiative, said academic achievement and eyesight go hand in hand.

Link between sight and academic achievement

“There is a clear link between eye issues and academic achievement,” she said.

“So to be able to rectify any problems at this stage will help even the playing field for these children.”

Labour MP for Manurewa and spokesperson for youth affairs, Louisa Wall, attended the Gisborne screenings and said the purpose was to remove all barriers to learning.

“If you can’t see and can’t read then you can’t learn,” she said.

Steven Stenersen of Stenersen Kain Opticians said he was happy to be part of the “brilliant” project and believed it had changed children’s lives.

“All these children who have missed out in the past now have a chance,” he said.

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

Optometrist Adrian Peterson flew with his team from Hamilton to help screen the children and said it was good to be part of something that was making such a positive change.

“It’s a big thing,” he said.

Screenings have been held around the country with the goal of screening 3000 children in 2016. The Essilor Vision Foundation hopes to screen 4000 students in 2017.

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