Course 13

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Integrating eye health into school health programmes

Convenor: Hasan Minto, Chair: Amanda Davis
GOC for Optometrists GOC for Dispensing Opticians

Health, including visual health is inextricably linked to school achievement, quality of life, and economic productivity. With increasing prevalence of refractive errors and eye health problems in children it is imperative that eye health services are offered to children as early and as effectively as possible. School health programs provide an ideal platform to reach the majority of children.

Globally there are 19 million children with vision impairment. The burden of blindness lies with developing countries, with the prevalence of blindness in children approximately 10x greater in poorer countries than in more wealthy countries. Of the 19 million children with vision impairment, approximately 12 million have a significant, uncorrected refractive error. Refractive errors occur in children in all regions of the world, but the pattern of prevalence and the type of refractive errors vary. Of particular concern in areas such as East Asia, is that the prevalence of myopia appears to be increasing rapidly, with the rate among children found to be as high as 78% in China.

A comprehensive response: An ideal school eye health programme should be integrated into the broader school health programme, and be backed by eye and child health services to manage referrals and encompass the following:

  • Eye health promotion; i.e. health education and literacy, empowerment, increasing awareness
  • Identification of children with visual impairment
  • Correction of refractive error, provision of high quality spectacles which look good (to help take-up and usage) and which are comfortable, durable and affordable
  • Primary management for common and acute cases, e.g. infections, trauma
  • Programmes for locally endemic diseases especially those targeted for elimination e.g. trachoma, and conditions of public health significance e.g. Vitamin A deficiency

The course aims to inform the participants on:

  • Service delivery models – Our Children Vision
  • School Eye Health Screening Guidelines
  • Health Promotion-Using Child to Child Approach
  • Advocacy for School Eye Health
  • Case Study-School Eye Health Program in Mexico
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of School Health Program
Kovin NaidooThe Challenge and Service Delivery Model - Our Children’s Vision
Hasan MintoSchool Eye Health Screening Guidelines
Ving Fai ChanHealth Promotion--Using Child to Child Approach
Jorge MachadoScreening and Refractive Error of school age kids in Mexico
Daveena BrainAdvocacy for integration of Child Eye Health into School Health programmes
Clare GilbertMonitoring and Evaluation of School Health Programme

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