Eye checks for children at the age of four years are essential for the early identification and treatment of vision problems and to reduce the likelihood of permanent vision loss.
NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to implement universal screening for pre-schoolers – the Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening (StEPS) program. The NSW Government invests more than $4 million annually in the StEPS program.
This World Sight Day, 8 October 2020, the StEPS team is encouraging all parents to get their four-year-old children tested.
Leanne Roberts, Operational Nurse Manager, Women, Children and Families at Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) said early screening leads to optimal vision.
“It is critical that this screening is provided to four-year-olds before they start school to maximise clinical benefit and outcomes for children,” she said.
“If a child has impaired vision, they may think this is normal as they don’t have a baseline to compare it to. This is why it is so vital your child is screened.”
Free screening is available to all four-year-old children. StEPS screeners visit preschools and long day care centres across CCLHD, and children who do not attend centres or are in home care can also access the free service. Families can also ask their GP to test their child’s vision or refer their child to an eye health professional.
At CCLHD, the StEPS program has made additional catch-up clinics available at local Community Health Centres for children who may have missed out on vision screening in 2020 while the program was deferred for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For further information on available catch up clinics, please contact the CCLHD Gateway Child and Family Health team on 4328 7900.
For more on the local StEPS program visit: https://www.cclhd.health.nsw.gov.au/services/children-services/child-and-family-health/vision-assessments/