School screening program expands to South Australia

On 27 October, EVF screened 127 children at Marion Primary School in Adelaide, which represented 80% of the school’s student population.The screening process was undertaken by five local optometrists and eight optometry students from Flinders University, with 44 children (35%) subsequently referred.EVF CEO Mr Greg Johnson said he had been “thrilled” with the program’s achievents since its launch.{{quote-A:R-W:450-I:2-Q: The results have been as surprising as they are disturbing, -WHO:Greg Johnson, CEO of Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF)}}“The results have been as surprising as they are disturbing with some 30–40% of students requiring a subsequent, comprehensive eye examination and around one-third needing the free prescription spectacles – and, those numbers apply to both primary and secondary schools,” he commented.He said EVF’s main focus would be on Victoria, SA and Queensland where the Foundation had established “sound relationships” with optometry schools. However, he noted that EVF would also “respond positively to all enquiries received from across the nation”.Beyond its school screening program, EVF is currently supporting optometrists in Sydney with the provision of free prescription spectacles. It is also actively involved in indigenous programs, both directly and indirectly, in SA, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, as well as in Queensland programs that focus on refugees, migrants and those with mental illness.WORLD SIGHT DAYIn other EVF news, the organisation recently lit up the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and the Victoria Street Bridge in Toowoomba, Queensland in blue to celebrate World Sight Day on 13 October.“Hopefully through this initiative many more people [now] know about the need for an ongoing eye-health program and wearing correct prescription spectacles,” Melbourne Star marketing assistant Ms Jeanelle Berame commented.Mr Johnson said the two initiatives proved there was a need for “high-profile and very public actions such as these to draw the community’s attention to World Sight Day”.“We were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm these actions created,” he continued. “Foundation and Essilor Australia staff, along with optometrists, practice staff and patients, really braced the concept and constantly repeated the key messages ‘make sure you have regular eye examinations’ and ‘always wear the correct prescription eyewear’.”Mr Johnson said EVF was already “prospecting” for iconic structures for World Sight Day 2017, with a view to “lighting up every state and territory”.

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