31 nurses will be appointed to screen the eyesight of Queensland Prep students as part of a new $14 million vision screening program.
About 3350 prep students in the greater Brisbane area have already been screened, with eight registered nurses and three clinical nurses appointed to establish the program in southeast Queensland and form a central hub for co-ordination.
Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said the early screening could help detect issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye), which affects about one in every 50 children.
‘Without early detection, these conditions can negatively impact on a child’s social and educational development, as well as increase the risk of total blindness in adulthood,’ he says.
Minister Dick says by starting treatment while a child’s visual pathway is still maturing up to age eight, there is a greater chance of reversing this damaging condition without any long-term effects on vision.
‘We know that early intervention is the best prevention and by introducing this vital screening program, we can identify and act on health issues and give Queensland children the best chance of reaching their full potential,’ he says.