Melbourne optometry students conduct eye tests for Glasses for Kids
A new program offering free eye tests and glasses at Victorian schools is set to transform the learning environment of children in prep to year three—up to a third of whom may have unidentified vision problems.
Final-year Melbourne Optometry students will conduct eye tests at more than 100 schools as part of the Glasses for Kids program launched recently by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino.
The three-year program is being delivered by the university in partnership with the not-for-profit group State Schools Relief (SSR), and the Department of Education and Training Victoria.
The new Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor Shitij Kapur, said common problems in this age group included long-sightedness, turned eyes and colour vision problems.
“The importance of both good education and good health to a child’s future cannot be underestimated,” Professor Kapur said.
“Unidentified vision problems often lie at the root of poor educational outcomes for children and our students will be intervening to prevent this. We are delighted to be working with State Schools’ Relief and the Department of Education and Training to deliver this program. ”
At one school in a trial conducted earlier this year, 330 children were tested and 125 were found to need glasses.
Associate Professor Daryl Guest, the clinical director at University of Melbourne EyeCare, said final-year optometry students were excited to be part of a major public health initiative that would help children and their teachers.
“For many of these kids, simply prescribing glasses has completely transformed their experience of school, improving their concentration and behaviour.
“We need early screening because kids of this age won’t tell you, ‘I can’t see the blackboard.’ They’ll just disengage from learning and fall behind.”
University of Melbourne Optometry School
Optometry is the occupation of measuring eyesight, prescribing corrective lenses, and detecting and managing eye disease. It is a professional allied health discipline based on the optical, visual, and biomedical sciences. An optometrist’s role is to solve their patients’ visual problems.
The Melbourne Optometry degree is a 4-year full-time program that offers intensive training in the clinical discipline of optometry. The course covers the basic and applied optical, visual, and biomedical sciences that underpin optometry, and delivers a comprehensive clinical training that commences in the first year of the study. During the course, students will have the opportunity to undertake a research project, in an area relevant to the discipline, and will be given the opportunity to undertake clinical training at metropolitan, rural and overseas sites as part of their final year of study.