Transitions Optical has piloted Eye Didn’t Know That! – a vision screening program for children in the lower socio economic suburb of Elizabeth Grove in South Australia. There were 79 students, aged five to eight years old, who had their eyes screened with 46 of them found to need further testing. If required, they will receive further vision testing and free prescription spectacles.
Genevieve Quilty, National CEO of Optometrists Association Australia, said Vision screening programs may be valuable for this age group to detect conditions and increase awareness of the importance of eye health via comprehensive eye examinations. “There is currently low use of optometry services in Australia by children under the age of 15, despite all Australian residents being subsidised by Medicare for comprehensive eye health services when visiting the optometrist. This includes the age group where detection of conditions such as amblyopia or uncorrected refractive error is important as the possibility of long-term effects on learning ability and vision may be high if an undetected vision problem is present.”
She said that as well as Medicare paying for clinical services, all States and Territories assist eligible patients to obtain optical appliances at reduced costs through State and Territory based subsidised spectacle schemes. The Association runs annual marketing campaigns to remind parents and schools of the need for eye health examinations for children.
Transitions Optical hopes to take the screening program national in the near future. To read more about the Eye Didn’t Know That! initiative turn to page 59.