Gregory Hindmarsh screens a primary school student
By Ashleigh McMillan
Fifth-year optometry student Gregory Hindmarsh performed an eye examination on a child for the first time, over the summer vacation.
The examinations were part of a broader Queensland University of Technology initiative of free ‘back to school’ health checks held on 10-12 January. The QUT optometry clinic examined 254 primary school children over the three days.
Gregory says he performed comprehensive eye examinations on 14 children, which included visual acuity, retinoscopy, binocular vision tests, colour vision and ocular health.
‘The biggest drawcard for me attending the screening was the opportunity to work with children, something I had not yet experienced through my optometry education,’ he said.
‘I now feel much more confident communicating with young children. The chance to see so many patients in one day was also beneficial in improving the speed and accuracy of the clinical techniques we were performing.’
Volunteer positions for the screening were advertised to fifth-year students at the university. The QUT Health Clinic has been open for more than eight years and provides the public with free and low-cost health services.
Gregory saw some children with an acuity level of 6/18.
‘Neither the students nor their parents knew that they had poor vision or required glasses. The fact that many children may be attending school with such poor vision and be completely unaware highlights the importance of screening school-aged children.
‘I found that many of the parents accompanying their children on the day also had no idea that other issues apart from refractive error, such as a binocular vision anomaly, colour vision deficiency or some sort of ocular pathology, may impact on their child’s vision and subsequently, their education.
‘Without a comprehensive screening investigating in all these areas, these problems would remain undetected and possibly prevent a child reaching their full potential at school,’ Gregory said.