Among school children, uncorrected refractive errors have a considerable impact on their participation and learning in class.
Trax Ghana and the British school of Brussels (BSB), Brussels partnership project provided free eye exams and glasses to students, teachers and support staff of eight (8) schools in the Upper East region of Ghana from June 28 to July 8, 2016.
Two optometrists and a group of trained students and teachers from the British School of Brussels (BSB), Brussels partnered with an eye care professional at the Bawku Eye Clinic Annex in Bolgatanga to carry out eye screening in Gaare-Gbani, Dachio, Duusi, Zuarungu Moshie, Pelungu and Sakorit Primary and Junior High Schools as well as Kongo and Bolga Girls Senior High Schools.
The event witnessed more than 3,500 eye exams and more than 250 pairs of hands out glasses. The glasses were provided by the UK charity Child Vision and were designed by an Oxford Professor. They are easy to prescribe and adjust for any wearer that needs them.
Vision testing in schools not only helps the children but also help communities, as awareness about good vision is increased amongst teachers and parents. However, existing policy have focused on curricula, teaching methods, accountability and other changes from within the education system. Disadvantaged children are less likely to see an eye care professional because their parents cannot afford a vision test or they don’t know how to access free tests and glasses. Trax Ghana and the BSB partnership project have gone beyond the usual solutions to see how much eye screening and eyeglasses could contribute or improve reading outcomes on a large scale in selected rural school in northern Ghana.
The main goal of vision screening was to identify students, teachers and other support staff who have or are at risk of developing permanent visual impairment unless treated or corrected. Following the screening, those who fail vision testing were provided with good quality, low cost pair of glasses. After the exercise, the remaining glasses were donated to the Bawku Eye Clinic Annex in Bolgatanga and those who need further assessment were referred to eye care professionals at the facility for further evaluation and treatment
The Schools free eye screening and glasses project will be evaluated to access the impact by determining the proportion of students, teachers and support staff screened and given glasses; the number who actually wear them, and the number whose vision has been improved as a result of the programme.