Vision screening test for children begins nationwide

October 22, 2019

TEHRAN – A national vision screening program is underway to diagnose Amblyopia and other visual impairments in children aged 3 to 6 years across the country.

Lazy eye is a vision development disorder in which an eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity, even with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. 

Since the past 23 years, the Welfare Organization annually conducts vision screening tests on children aged 3 to 6 years by the beginning of the eighth Iranian calendar month of Aban (October 23) which lasts for 2 months, Minoo Rafiei, head of disability prevention department of the Welfare Organization, said.

Emphasizing that all children aged 3 to 6 years should refer to vision screening centers even those who has undergone the test last year, she noted that maybe the disease has not shown up last year, so children should be diagnosed at least three times during this period.

She went on to say that more than 40,000 centers have been set up in different parts of the country to offer vision screening, ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

Stating that the target population of the project is around 4 million children, she lamented that last year, 75 percent of children of the same age were screened nationwide, and 16,000 were diagnosed with Amblyopia.

According to Rafiei, these children have been referred to appropriate eye care professional for further evaluation and treatment, and the Welfare Organization is monitoring the condition of these children until they are 10 years old to make sure they are treated.

During a year, 2,000 fixed centers at the Welfare Organization provide eye screening services, which will reach up to 40,000 during the implementation of the plan, she highlighted.
Mobile, temporary and childcare facilities, welfare complexes, health centers, mosques, and other places that are accessible to the public will be set as a vision screening center, she added.

Mobile clinics will also be deployed for remote, deprived, nomadic and rural areas, she stated.

The services will be conducted on a very low price, Rafiei concluded.

Screening tests in the previous year showed that 75,000 children were suffering vision impairments, except for those diagnosed with lazy eyes.

Welfare Organization’s director Vahid Qobadi Dana said in August that over the past 23 years, 70 billion rials (about $1.7 million) has been allocated for Amblyopia screening tests in different parts of the country.

According to World Health Organization, it is estimated that at least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

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