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Eyesight resources for families.

Your route to understanding child vision and eye health.

Kia ora and welcome to Vision 20/20's resources for families and whānau! Did your child participate in Vision 20/20's in-classroom eye screening? Are you trying to find information on caring for your child's eyes? As a parent or a guardian, we encourage you to be a big part of the team that ensures your child receives proper eye health care.


We want to make it as easy as possible for your child to have their eyes tested; we want kids to understand the importance of looking after their eyes - that’s why we developed our vision screening kits and teaching resources.


As a parent, guardian, or loved one - it can be difficult to understand and navigate the health system and available resources to properly care for the health of our children. Read on to learn about what to watch for when considering child eye health, vision screening for kids, and the 'spectacle subsidy' to reduce the financial burdens of child eye care. If you have any concerns about your child's vision - please check with an optometrist.

 

Child Vision Signs

Families can monitor for common signs that a child might have an eyesight challenge, including:

  • Dislike and avoidance of close work

  • Sitting at the table with an awkward posture

  • Turning or tilting the head to one side

  • Closing one eye while reading

  • Taking an unusually long time to complete reading comprehension tasks

  • Moving closer to a book, desk, or computer screen while reading

  • Excessive blinking or rubbing of eyes

  • Losing place while reading; skipping or re-reading lines or words

  • Using a finger as a placemark when reading; reading unusually slowly

  • Complaints of headache, dizziness, and nausea

  • Needing to sit close to the TV or board at school to see clearly

  • Lack of confidence in group sports and activities

For more information on signs your child might have a vision issue, common vision issues, and more - please visit the New Zealand's Association of Optometrists.

 
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Child Vision Screening

What to know about standard school vision screening opportunities.

Families should be aware of the standard vision testing opportunities for children. In New Zealand, the Public Health system administers scheduled eyesight testing for children on two occasions:

  1. B4 School Check at age four years. This examination is for eye alignment.

  2. Year 7 vision testing at school. This is a standard vision screen.

Look out for when the vision testing is happening and see if your child brings home a referral letter. If your child fails a vision test, it is best to take them to a local optometrist for an in-depth exam to ensure your child receives the care they need. Please see an optometrist if you have any concerns with your child’s vision at any age.

The NZ Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their eyes examined:

  • At 6 to 12 months old.

  • At 2 to 3 years of age.

  • Before starting school.

  • Through their school years as indicated by vision screening or school performance.

 
Image by Bud Helisson

The 'Spectacle Subsidy'

Did you know there's financial help available in New Zealand to cover costly child eye care fees?

If your child is 15 or younger and has eyesight challenges, you may be able to access the spectacle subsidy to help cover the costs of proper eye care. Who can get the spectacle subsidy?

A child or young person who is 15 years of age or under, provided:

  • the parent/guardian or child has a valid community services card, or

  • the child has a current high-use health card.

There are clinical vision guidelines your child will need to meet; an optometrist or ophthalmologist can discuss these guidelines with you during your appointment. If your child does not meet the clinical guidelines, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may apply to Enable New Zealand for a review of your child’s circumstances.


The spectacle subsidy can be claimed for the following items:

  • Eye examination

  • Spectacles (frames and lenses)

  • Eye patches

  • Repairs

For further information, please visit the Ministry of Health's page on the spectacle subsidy.