Free vision screening for all Brisbane Prep students
Every Prep student in Queensland will have their vision screened under the new Primary School Nurse Health Readiness Program, which was launched in Brisbane last month.
The program aims to detect any vision conditions early, including amblyopia (or a ‘lazy eye’) which affects about 1 in every 50 Australian children.
If left untreated, amblyopia can negatively impact on a child’s social and educational development, as well as increase the risk of total blindness in adulthood.
However, if corrective treatment begins while a child’s visual pathway is still maturing (up to the age of eight), there is a greater chance of the condition being reversed with no long-term effects on vision.
How will my Prep child access the school vision screening program?
Parents will be asked to complete a written consent form to enable their child to participate in the program. This will be distributed by schools before the program nurse is due to visit.
Written results of the screening test will be sent home with children or be available at the school for parents’ collection. If children do not pass the screening test, information will be provided to parents regarding referral recommendations, and the nurse will telephone parents to ensure they have received this information.
What does the screening involve?
Eyesight is screened for visual acuity which measures the ability of the eye to see details from a specific distance. For the current screening test, children will be asked to read the smallest size letters they can see on a wall chart from a distance of four metres.
Helping children reach their full potential
Thirty-one nurses will be appointed by February 2017 to screen the vision of every Prep student in government and non-government schools to ensure they are best prepared to begin their education.
Children’s Health Queensland has appointed eight registered nurses and three clinical nurses to establish the program in South East Queensland and to provide ongoing project co-ordination, education and support for program nurses across the state.
Thousands of Prep students in the greater Brisbane area have already been screened in the first stage of the program.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Mr Cameron Dick, said funding for the $14 million program was being rolled out over four years and that the program bolstered the government’s 10-year health vision, My health, Queensland’s Future: Advancing Health 2026.
“By supporting two key directions of this vision – promoting well-being and delivering healthcare – this program is furthering our goal for Queenslanders to be among the healthiest people in the world by 2026,” he said.
For more information about vision screen for Prep students, visit Children’s Health Queensland.