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Refractive error in New Zealand children

Awarded $109,536 in funding
Over 3 years, starting in 2023

Testing eyesight for 7-year-olds

Children who have problems with their eyesight such as refractive error need glasses, to participate fully in the classroom and achieve academically. But because current screening programmes do not detect all children with refractive error, many children with vision problems start school without glasses. Māori and Pacific children and those living in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage are more likely to start school with uncorrected refractive error than other children.

Dr Rebecca Findlay aims to test 7-year-old children for refractive error, as a first step to understanding the size of this issue. The researchers will also investigate barriers to access for primary eye care, and associations between refractive error and measures of reading ability and social-emotional learning in New Zealand children.

The results should inform large-scale programmes to provide vision screening and eye care to detect and treat refractive error, and set children up for success at school.

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