At Speckles, we are big believers in equal access to eye care and treatment so that all children can see a brighter future. For World Sight Day we attended an online conference call to hear about the newly developed National Framework for Vision Screening for kids aged 3.5 to 5 years.
This age range provides a crucial opportunity to screen vision, identify visual problems and provide treatment options, as this is just before our little ones start school. This ensures they enter the classroom with the best possible vision and can participate without barriers to learning.
The framework draws on research from the New South Wales Statewide Eyesight Preschool Screening Program (StEPS) and 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’.
The screening process will include:
- Pre-screening:Information provided to parents and carers about the vision screening process, the importance of vision screening for vision and eye health in children and common eye conditions affecting children. This will also include a consent form being sent to parents with the opportunity to provide information about family history and any current treatment the child is undergoing (e.g. wearing glasses, patching)
- Screening: The child’s eyes are observed to determine if any abnormalities are present that may affect the child's vision or cause discomfort. This includes a visual acuity test, where their distance vision is measured and an occlusion test where each eye is tested individually to determine if there is an imbalance in eye strength.
- Post-Screening Follow Up Processes:An outline of the key considerations and processes that are integral to follow-up care, screening program monitoring and evaluation.
Based on the results of this screening the eye care professional will provide either a pass, a referral or a high priority referral to an eye health practitioner. The National Framework also incorporates details on the requirements for the screening environment, the attributes of the people who perform the screening such as their training and communication skills and systems and information management to support follow up processes.
We are so excited to see this National Framework come together and can't wait for it to be implemented in pre-schools all around Australia. Stay tuned to the EyeHub for more information and updates!