Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic Occupational Therapy students are rolling out a vision screening pilot programme at Kaikorai Valley College next week.

The collaboration between Otago Polytechnic, Retina NZ and the Vision Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa (VICTA) utilises an “Eyes Right Toolkit”, a simple tool that can be used by health professionals and laypeople to screen for low vision, and provide a referral pathway to optometrists.

Occupational Therapy students will screen year-9 students at Kaikorai Valley College on Tuesday 4 September.

“In the pilot for this work, we found that this screening was sensitive enough to pick up visual deficits in secondary school students – so we are expecting to find some schoolchildren who need to visit their optometrist,” Mary Butler, Principal Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy, says.

“We have arranged for a half-price consultation with a local optometrist for anyone referred through this project.”

The school students will be taught about computer vision syndrome, how they can protect their eyes in the face of constant exposure to screens and the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV radiation.

The students will also be taught how to screen each other using the Eyes Right Toolkit. Lastly, they can download an Eyes Right Toolkit app, developed by Otago Polytechnic Information Technology students, which can be used to screen family and friends.

In addition, Otago Polytechnic postgraduate Occupational Therapy student Helen Knight is heading to Fiji next week, where she will implement the Eyes Right Toolkit.

Helen is part of a multidisciplinary team that visits Fiji every year to help with developing services for stroke patients. One of her tasks during the week will be to teach 300 nurses how to use the ERT to screen for visual impairments.

“We believe this will raise awareness of the need for services in Fiji and, more locally, in Dunedin,” Mary Butler explains.

Read more about our Occupational Therapy programme

Published on 31 Aug 2018

Orderdate: 31 Aug 2018
Expiry: 31 Dec 2019