School nursing and vision checks

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The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is reassuring parents that its School Nursing service provides vision checks for P1 pupils as part of a health assessment, following recent publicity on vision screening in schools.

Julie McConville, Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing at the Southern Trust, helps plan the regional School Health Child Health Promotion Programme with the nursing leads for School Nursing.

“In the last school year, 5,694 Primary 1 children in 205 schools had their vision checked” explained Julie. “School Nurses are trained by Orthoptists to check for reduced visual acuity that may require further care and treatment. Last year, 721 children were referred to the Orthoptic Service by the school nurse. If reduced vision is confirmed, then the child will have a refraction examination by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist to see if there is long sight or short sight present.

“School Nurses follow regionally agreed guidance on vision screening and use an evidence based vision screening tool.”

Nursing Service also provides care and support to Year 8-12 pupils in post primary schools.