Providing Eye Tests and Glasses for Young Children in Gaza
With the absence of a comprehensive sight and hearing screening programme in Gaza, children’s (0-5 years of age) sight and hearing difficulties and disabilities may go undetected – which can severely affect a child’s academic attainment.
Any sight and hearing impairments can cause difficulties with reading & writing and lead to psychological issues, resulting in emotional and behavioural problems. The early care and treatment of children born with any sight and hearing difficulties is vital, to maximise health and development of mobility, language acquisition, and sensory skills.
In our most recent project, we were able to provide eyesight screening tests for 1500 children in ten schools in Gaza, including kindergartens, special education centres, and public schools. Any children requiring glasses, were able to choose the frame they preferred and these were fitted with lenses of the correct prescription – according to each child’s eye tests results. Any children found with eye infections were provided with the medications needed. Any children with more serious eye issues were referred to the appropriate health centre or hospital for follow-up.
Some of the undiagnosed sight problems discovered included Myopia, Hyperopia / Hypermetropia, Astigmatism, Myopia associated Astigmatism and Hypermetropia associated Astigmatism
Once children start wearing their glasses regularly, the result is increased participation and inclusion in both their school and local community. Children show an improvement in their learning capabilities, interest and concentration levels, and interaction with everyday life at their kindergartens & schools. Teachers also report increased self-confidence in these children after they receive treatment.
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