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Screening of 1,470 kids reveals high refractive error eye problems  

Third Eyecare and Vision Centre has identified high levels of refractive error eye problem in 1,470 children screened for eye problems.

This observation of refractive error eye problems was made after examining children under 18 years old during Third Eyecare and Vision Centre’s Kiddie Eyecare Day.

The five-day free eye screening started from Monday, August 28, to Friday and ended September 1, 2023.

Dr. Kwame Oben-Nyarko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Third Eyecare and Vision Centre therefore urged parents to pay attention to the behaviour of their kids when writing or watching TV or looking at things.

The exercise examined the eyes of the children, gave glasses, and also gave free eyedrops to the children under 18 years old. Third Eyecare and Vision Centre’s Kiddie Eyecare Day starts at 8am and ends at 5pm each day at its Airport Residential Area and North Ridge, Accra centres.

Dr.  Oben-Nyarko disclosed that doctors attended to 1,470 kids over the five day period.

Refractive error

After the assessment, he said Third Eyecare and Vision Centre gave out 736 pairs of lenses.

He announced that some 1,247 bottles of various eye drops for treating eye infections, eye allergies and dryness of the eyes were given to the children.

He encouraged parents to pay critical attention to the vision of their children and wards “as early detention of any eye condition in a child could prevent potential blindness”.

“We also want parents to take the complaints of children with regards to their eyes more seriously,” he added.He warned that parents should not ignore children who rub their eyes a lot, close or cover one eye often to see, tilt or thrust the head forward, have difficulty reading or doing other close-up work, or hold objects closer to their eyes to see.

He said blinking more than usual or seeming cranky when doing close-up work, finding things blurry or hard to see, and squinting eyes or frowning to see are all potential eye conditions that call for medical attention.

Dr. Oben-Nyarko said about 70% of what children learn comes from what they see based on their interactions and it was therefore critical to take issues bordering on the vision of the child seriously.

Adding to that, “a child who usually desires to move and sit closer to the classroom board and frowns when looking at objects far or near can also be a sign that the child needs eye care attention”.

He emphasised parents should continually observe children’s mannerisms at early stages to detect any eye conditions as they had no timeline.

He added that the red flags, when ignored at early stages, could damage the eyes of children and advised parents to ensure that children practised the 20-20-20 method to rest their eyes and take a break from digital devices; “this means your child should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.”

Dr. Daniel Adu Agyeman, an optometrist at the Third Eyecare and Vision Centre, who led the exercise explained that the target was to examine and diagnose as many kids as possible for every possible eye disease available to prevent further damage.

Dr. Agyeman urged parents to be observant when their children have constant headaches and are rubbing their eyes. “Children may not be able to explain the situation; that’s why parents must be vigilant about the behaviour of their kids”.

He expressed surprise at the number of vision-related conditions in the children, such as one eye having a problem, stressing that it could lead to the eye deviating.

The optometrist said eye conditions like refraction errors, shortsightedness, and headaches were also recorded, but it could be that because they gave out free glasses.

He added that aside from the registration fee of GH₵50, the examination, lenses, and drugs given were free, but people who needed extra property in their lenses may come at a cost with a subsidised rate.

Mr. Admond Ago, a school principal who brought his daughter for the screening, said he had been able to cut costs because he used to pay GH₵1,000.

He pleaded for health exercise to be extended to all adults too, while urging the public to take advantage of the free health screening.

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