Clear vision to help children’s school performance
17 April 2018
Central Queensland prep students will be able to have their vision screened by the end of this year as part of a new program to help children get ready for primary school.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the Primary School Nurse Health Readiness Program focuses on vision screening for prep students.
“Two registered nurses have been recruited in Central Queensland and have started the program which aims to screen all private and public prep students in the region,” Mr Butcher said.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the program aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of Queensland children during their transition to primary school.
“This program is ensuring Queensland children start their schooling with healthy eyes so they can begin their education journey on the right foot,” Mr O’Rourke said.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said vision screening was vital in early childhood, particularly for conditions such as the most common cause of visual impairment in children, amblyopia (or a ‘lazy eye’), which affects about 1 in every 50 Australian children.
“We know that early intervention is the best prevention, this screening program starting this year means we can help identify and act to give Central Queensland children the best chance of reaching their full potential,” she said.
“Without early detection, this condition can negatively impact on a child’s social and educational development, as well as increase the risk of total blindness in adulthood.”
This is part of a $14 million program led by Children’s Health Queensland to ensure children get the best start to their primary school experience.
The nurse conducts a two-stage screening process – visual acuity testing and the use of automated photoscreening equipment.
Christine Young, Nurse Unit Manager for CQ Health’s Child and Family Health Unit, said the nurses had already completed screening at 13 CQ schools, with about 110 schools to be completed this year.
A number of children with vision concerns have been identified in the program, and their parents have been advised to consult with an eye health professional for a comprehensive assessment and treatment if required.
“The vision screening activities with prep children promotes early identification and intervention for vision concerns,” Ms Young said.
“Children’s eyes are maturing up until age eight, and we have a better chance of reversing conditions if they’re picked up and treated early.”
The Primary School Nurse Health Readiness Program is part of the Queensland Government’s $46.1 million Healthier Queensland Action Plan.