Students to benefit from charitable eye screening

The Auckland campus will host free eye screening in the Student Central building on October 18, between 11.30am and 3.00pm.

Massey University students studying at the Auckland campus are set to benefit from free vision testing as part of a new charitable initiative.

The Essilor Vision Foundation, a New Zealand registered charity, has tested the vision of thousands of low decile school students throughout the country this year. The screening at Massey is part of a new programme that will test the eyes of tertiary students to identify undiagnosed vision conditions.

Earlier this year volunteer optometrists from the foundation found around half of students screened at the University’s Manawatū campus had a previously unknown vision condition, with many of them showing signs of heavy digital device use.

On October 18, the foundation and volunteers will conduct a screening with specialised optometry equipment for students at the Auckland campus. Register here for the free screening. The first 100 registrations will get a $10 Subway voucher.

Takapuna optometrist Grant Watters from Mortimer Hirst, who is volunteering his time to screen the students, says he expects a number of those examined to present with vision issues.

“There are indications that a large percentage of the population are living with a range of vision issues they are unaware of.

“For tertiary students in particular, Essilor’s research has shown a rise in the number of young New Zealanders presenting with symptoms as a result of heavy digital device use.

“At the same time, many people will be unaware they don't have the same vision clarity as others - simply because they have no basis for comparison or it has gradually deteriorated over time.

“The data gathered from screening thousands of intermediate aged school children last year found that around one in three children has an issue with their eyesight that requires intervention from an optometrist.

“For the first time, we will be able to get a clearer picture of how this issue impacts on those in the tertiary sector. I would encourage all students to come along and be screened,” he says.

The free screening will be held in the Student Central building at Massey University’s Auckland campus from 11.30am – 3.00pm on October 18.

The charity is seeking support to expand their screening programme throughout the region. For more information visit their website.

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