Low decile schools benefit from eye screening programme

By Jessica Tyson

Hundreds of students from low decile primary schools in South Auckland are set to benefit from a charity eye screening programme.

From today, the Essilor Vision Foundation and volunteers from South Auckland optometry practice Frith & Laird Optometrists will conduct a screening with specialised equipment for the students.

Heather Laird of Frith & Laird says past screenings have found significant levels of undiagnosed vision conditions among students.

"A third of low decile students have a previously undiagnosed issue with their vision that requires further treatment by an optometrist.”

She says it's sad that often students with poor vision can be labelled “disruptive” or may not perform well academically, when the cause could simply be that they are having trouble seeing what is being written.

“Research shows that 80 percent of a student's learning is through their vision so if they are having trouble with their sight a pair of corrective lenses can have a massive, positive impact."

Student Tukaha Seymour from Rowandale School in Manurewa is one of many who has benefitted from the programme.

“Now I’ve got my glasses on I can see the board very clearly.”

Mother Amanda Tatopau says, “It means a lot to me because not a lot of families can afford to get glasses and it goes to show a lot of people appreciate our kids as well.”

The programme will continue this month at Weymouth Primary, Rowendale School, Homai School, Te Matauranga School, Roscommon School, Randwick Park School and Clendon Park School.

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.