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Primary Eye Care In School And Preschool

Introduction

Perfect senses contribute to the development of healthy and bright children. A perfect eyesight in children is important where many parents have neglected. At the same time teachers have the responsibilities and role to play as children go to school as early as four years old.

Primary eye care at school is very important as almost the entire day, children spent their time in school. Parents must realize that teachers are the most closest and know their children well.

Have You Ever Wondered Why Eye Care At School Is Very Important?

It is important because accidents can happen at:

  • classrooms
  • school compound
  • canteen
  • laboratory or life skills workshops
  • outside the school gate when boarding the vehicle

 

Figure 1: Among The Factors Leading Eye Injury At School

Based on accident statistics from January to May 2008 reported by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education, Tan Sri Dr. Zulkurnain Awang, 12 percent of all accidents happened at the school while the remaining 88 percent happened outside of school.

Efficient and effective school is a school that is able to maintain a safe and proper learning environment (Murphy et al.1985).

Causes ofthe accident are related with human, environmental and natural factors. For example, in laboratory science or carpentry workshop safety rules that must be followed are not displayed.

Schools should provide a safe environment by providing programs or policies that involves close cooperation between the school community, parents, government agencies and volunteer organizations.

What can be done to reduce accident:

  • The administrator or teacher should be responsible in monitoring the entrance and the compound and buildings before and after school
  • Teachers must observe  the student all the time
  • Traffic supervisor in control traffic especially during peak hours
  • Teacher should explains and remind students about safety  aspects that should be followed in schools
  • The school is responsible for implementing policies to ensure safety in all extra-curricular activities during school hours
  • Provide a secure waiting area for students leaving late

Accidents that occur can cause disturbed vision function and can affect physical and mental development of children. This happened because eye sight is not only important for seeing but it is also important for mobility and coordination.

Malay proverb mentions “prevention is better than cure”. This is where parents and teachers should take bigger role in detecting vision problems in children. Signs and symptoms of vision problems should be monitored as these children will not complain about their vision problems until it’s too late.

What Are The Signs Of Vision Problems In Children?

  • shrink eyelid when looking at a sign or watching TV
  • tendency to blink and excessive eye rubbing especially in class
  • careen or ogle in one direction to focus
  • frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • red or watery eyes in normal conditions

Vision screening can help teachers identify children who are visually impaired and should be referred to the optometrist to get a complete examination.

Blindness is one of the main causes of vision problems among school children and is the second highest cause of blindness after cataract problem (Dandona & Dandona, 2001).

Why Do Children Need Vision Screening?

  • Young children with vision problems often do not know that the way they see the world is not the way everyone sees it
  • Many eye disorders has no warning sign and can only be detected by a vision screening
  • 40% of the cause of childhood blindness are preventable and treatable
  • Without good vision, a child’s ability to learn about the world becomes more difficult.
  • Vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school-age children.
  • Untreated eye problems can worsen and lead to other serious problems as well as affect learning ability, personality ,  adjustment in school & permanent vision loss

Figure 2: Picture Show Vision Screening By The Health And Physical Education Teacher At School

Refractive errors are not corrected mainly nearsighted or “myopia” left a huge impact on the learning process and the learning potential of the child (He M. et al, 2004). Vision screening by primary school teachers are very effective in helping the process of early detection blindness and other vision problems could be reduced, vision problems among school children. (A Gupta et al, 2012).

In conclusion, eye care in school children involved all of the parents and teachers and is further strengthened by a good network of health centers and optometrists which vision screening activities can be organized annually in addition to the annual sports events and others.

References

  1. Dandona, R., & Dandona, L. (2001). Refractive error blindness. Bulletin World Health Organization 79: 237-43.
  2. He M. Zeng J. Liu Y. Xu J. Pokharel GP. Ellwein LB. Refractive error and visual in urban children in Southern China. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci 2004:45:793-9
  3. Anmol Gupta, Ram Lal, S.R.Mazta, Deepak Sharma(2012). Prevalens of Refractive Errors, Color Vision Defects and Other Ocular Disorders in School –going Chilldren: Primary Screening by School Teacher.JIMSA October-December 2012 Vol.25 No.4
Last Reviewed : 19 September 2014
Writer : Pn. Syarmilla bt. Che Shamsudin
Accreditor : Pn. Rosmawati bt. Uthman