Westfund Senior Optometrist Keith Upton with Lucy Klan and Brianna Gerathy.
Westfund Senior Optometrist Keith Upton with Lucy Klan and Brianna Gerathy.

Optometrist puts vision to test

SEEING an issue before it becomes a problem is the first priority for Emerald Christian College.

The school recently had the Westfund’s School Vision Screening Program screen Year 1 students to identify vision problems which may be an obstacle to their learning.

Principal Graeme Johnston said 22 out of 30 students were tested, with each test taking about 10 minutes.

“He (optometrist Keith Upton) is an experienced child optometrist and made the kids feel comfortable and they responded well - there were no tears,” he said with a laugh.

“It’s very good if they pick up any problems at that age… the better the eyesight, the better they do at school.”

Mr Johnston said he placed great importance on students in early grades having the best eyesight possible so they could get the most from their learning.

“The real foundations are laid from Prep to Year 4, so if they do that well, the rest of their schooling tends to flows nicely,” he explained.

The screenings were a first for Emerald Christian College and were provided at no cost to parents or the school.

“Nobody said ‘no’. Parents were happy for it to go ahead,” Mr Johnston said.

The program aimed to build awareness of eye problems and the importance of regular examinations in school-aged children.

“Many children do not receive any professional eye care until they become adults,” Westfund optometrist Keith Upton said. “By then some may have suffered loss of development due to visual deficit or eye disease.”

Mr Johnston said it was not a full eye examination but an assessment to identify any possible sight problems and parents were provided a report of their child.

The report gave a basic assessment of visual acuity, refractive error, binocular vision and colour vision and a recommendation for a further comprehensive eye examination may also be listed, depending on the child.

The college plans to continue the service each year and are also organising a program to test student’s hearing.

“We are planning for hearing tests to solve hearing problems so they don’t miss out for the first years of school,” he said.

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