Learners at Vision AfriKa’s primary school were given free-of-charge eye tests by the Spec Day Project at the start of February in order to ensure that any potential problems were dealt with early.
The Project, which was set up and funded by a group of friends from Sweden, had originally approached Vision Afrika’s operations manager Gerrit Laning to see if there was any space available for it to work out of the educational development NGO’s Ikhaya Trust Centre headquarters. The aim was to provide eye tests for the wider Kayamandi community, an activity that the Project has been undertaking each year for the last six years.
But Gerrit also took the opportunity to ask Bjorn Waenerlund, project leader at the Spec Day Project, to test the eyes of Vision AfriKa primary school learners too. They range in age from Grade Rs to Grade 3s. After being tested, six learners out of a total of 77 received glasses.
Five more were asked to obtain permission from their parents to attend further free-of-charge appointments at a specialist optometrist in Somerset West as they were believed to have problems requiring more in-depth care.
The team said that there were eight warning signs that students might have vision problems:
- Consistently sitting close to the TV
- Frequently rubbing their eyes
- Losing their place or using their finger to guide their eyes while reading
- Experiencing sensitivity to light or generating excessive amounts of tears
- Closing one eye to read or watch TV
- Experiencing a drop in grades for no apparent reason
- Avoiding using a computer because it “hurts their eyes”
- Squinting or tilting their heads to see the board.