Medscheme partners with South African Optometric Association to sponsor vision screening for children on World Sight Day
|Issued by: Magna Carta|
[Johannesburg, 15 October 2014]
As part of its ongoing commitment to creating a world of sustainable healthcare, Medscheme, in partnership with the South African Optometric Association (SAOA), sponsored free vision screening for 90 learners from Akani Metmar Primary School in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Eye Care Awareness Month (ECAM), held annually from the 23 September to 20 October, is a month dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of eye health. World Sight Day, which is on 9 October, is celebrated globally every year and is marked as a day of awareness in order to focus on blindness and vision impairment.
The vision screening process included a basic eye test and children with potential eye problems were advised to undergo a full eye examination.
"Many people think if they have no visual symptoms, there is no need to have their eyes examined routinely. However, an eye examination does not only pick up visual problems (refractive errors), but during this examination, many early signs of potential diseases can be detected and treated before they cause serious problems," says Patrick Mawila, Vice-president of SAOA.
"We experience life through our eyes and are shaped by it too. As the very building block of life, the importance of perfect vision from birth cannot be stressed enough," says Grace Khoza, Executive Director: Corporate Affairs at Medscheme.
"As a leading health administrator and managed care organisation, Medscheme takes its social responsibility seriously and through partnerships with organisations such as SAOA we aim to demonstrate our commitment to our vision of ‘creating a world of sustainable healthcare' for all in practical ways," she adds.
A report released last year by Orbis, titled "Child Eye Health ? The Status and Way Forward", reveals that more than 50 000 South African children could have had their eyesight saved if they had been diagnosed and treated earlier.
Children's eyes are more sensitive and continually growing with age. If the eye problems are not identified early enough and treated appropriately, there is a chance of irreversible damage. Moreover, with kids spending more time outdoors compared to most adults, it is very important that regular screenings are conducted to ensure the eyes remain healthy.
It is important to screen children from an early age for vision problems as it can adversely affect school achievement, sporting ability and social integration.
According to World Health Organisation, about 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.
An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired globally. Of these, 12 million children are visually impaired due to refractive errors, a condition that could be easily diagnosed and corrected. To find your nearest SAOA optometrist, log on to www.saoa.co.za.