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HomeminewsVision 2020 Calls for Children’s Vision Screening Framework

Vision 2020 Calls for Children’s Vision Screening Framework

Vision 2020 has welcomed a commitment to vision screening and affordable treatment for all children of the Commonwealth by leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda.

To address common eye disorders experienced by Australian children, the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector has been advocating for the adoption of a National Framework for Vision Screening in 3.5-5-year-olds.

The National Framework’s main objective is to help facilitate universal access to integrated people-centred eye care for Australian children

The main objective of Vision 2020’s National Framework is to help facilitate universal access to integrated, people-centred eye care for Australian children. This objective is in line with the World Health Assembly’s 2020 resolution on eye health and the United Nations resolution of ‘Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’.

Vision 2020 acknowledges the broad agreement across the eye health sector that pre-school vision screening is necessary to help detect visual problems and prevent life-long vision loss in children. The National Framework would also help provide a consensus on the variety of screening programs across states and territories.

There are three core concepts that underpin the framework. Firstly, the 3.5 – five-year-old age range represents an important opportunity to reliably screen vision, so that identification and treatment of visual problems can occur prior to the commencement of school. It also outlines that existing screening systems should be leveraged, and the screening workforce should be flexible and broad to maximise access.

As well as this, it suggests the need for post-screening follow-up measures to be embedded in all vision screening programs, as this helps to ensure children in need of treatment and/or monitoring receive appropriate and timely intervention.

The Framework draws on available evidence from local screening programs and protocols such as the New South Wales State-wide Eyesight Preschool Screening Program (StEPS). Its development has involved extensive consultation with sector experts, including clinicians and a range of organisations involved in eye health.

The National Framework for Vision Screening for 3.5-5-year-olds is available here.