Pupils from two schools in KwaZulu-Natal will receive free eye examinations and free spectacles from the African Eye Institute (AEI).
The institute in partnership with CooperVision and the 2.5 NVG Essilor group initiative will be at Siyabonga Secondary School in Illovo near Durban from September 28 to 30; and at Amagcino Primary School in Umgababa on the KZN South Coast from October 12 to 14.
This is to celebrate World Sight Day (WSD) which is observed on October 14.
According to the institute, its optometry team will perform vision screening and eye examinations on pupils.
The institute said spectacles will be given to those in need at no cost.
Principal of Siyabonga Secondary School, Bongani Arnold Dlomo, said they are extremely delighted about the vision screening programme.
Dlomo said something like this has never been done at their school before which is why they feel blessed and honoured to benefit from the programme.
“Pupils will benefit a lot because eyes play a pivotal role in their learning,” he said.
The institute is a Durban-based non-profit organisation which aims to provide eye health services to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The institute has a project called ‘One School at a Time’ where they provide early eye health interventions to schools within poor communities.
Chairperson of the institute, Professor Khathutshelo Percy Mashige, said World Sight Day is all about educating, inspiring, and creating a conversation about eye health issues that are often overlooked.
He said at the institute, they know that early detection and treatment can save a child from a life of blindness and the cycle of poverty.
“Correcting vision loss early and increasing school participation and academic achievement not only benefits the child, but also benefits communities and economies,” said Mashige.
Meanwhile, Kristan Gross, global executive director of the Vision Impact Institute said research shows that good vision can have a positive impact on worker productivity, children’s education, safer mobility on the roads, and gender equity.
“Good vision is a problem with a solution. When we solve for good vision, we impact so many other issues that need attention, especially at this time,” said Gross.