New Initiative Set to Address Undiagnosed Eye Conditions in Low Decile Kiwi Kids

Data Gathered by optometrists From the eye tests of almost a million North Americans living in poverty Showed a significant proportion were living with an untreated vision condition In late 2015 a charitable initiative was launched to investigate if this was an issue in New Zealand Optometrists from the Essilor Vision Foundation conducted a pilot study of 120 Decile one children At Flaxmere Primary school in Hawkes Bay 41% of those students had an undiagnosed vision problem Unfortunately poor eyesight and children can easily be mislabeled as bad behavior One time we were doing handwriting and I couldn’t see the letters properly and I got in trouble Over the past year hundreds more low decile school students have been screened by our Optometrists, with almost more than a third of them requiring vision correction The Foundation provides follow-up treatment and donates prescription frames and lenses to these children The simple gift of sight has had a profound effect It means a lot to me. Because not alot of families can afford to get glasses It goes to show that a lot of people appreciate our kids as well Who can read out for me Lets see… Are the cicadas spelling words? Now I got my glasses, I like can see the board very clearly Now I have my glasses on, I can see really clearly and I’ll be able to write stuff properly Massey University reviewed our initial findings and have began to study the long-term impact of correcting vision on the education potential of low decile children This study involves looking at the perceptions of the teachers and the parents and the children as to the difference that the glasses have made to their academic Their behavior and their social interactions really Over a period of about six months The results of the study will be used to inform decision-makers and help us achieve our goal of bringing the program into all New Zealand schools There’s a need for this initiative because in some of our communities, some of our families just don’t have the disposable income and the luxury of being able to go see a professional, an optometrist who’s going to diagnose their children Ultimately, it’s about learning how to read, and if you can’t see, its very difficult to read We believe there are still Thousands of kiwi children who have not yet had their vision conditions diagnosed and are prevented from achieving their full potential The foundation needs your help to screen 4,000 children this year Your donation will make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children Tu Meke Essilor!

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