Take the necessary StEPS to improve preschoolers’ vision

Cecilia Faaololo has her eyes tested by StEPS enrolled nurse Barbara Day.

Parents are being urged to make an appointment for their child to have free vision screening before they start primary school.

The Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening (StEPS) program offers four- and five-year-old children this opportunity.

Children rarely complain about eye problems and often don’t know if they can’t see well. The only way to tell is to have your child’s vision tested one eye at a time.

Early treatment is key to better outcomes.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) StEPS coordinator Katherine Hallam said children who had issues with their vision may think it was normal because they didn’t have any comparisons.

“When a child has impaired vision in one eye, it can interrupt the development of the visual pathway between the brain and the eye,” Katherine said. “If this problem is not treated during early childhood, it may never be able to be fixed.

“Every parent worries when their child attends their first day of school. We worry about whether they will make friends, eat their lunch, behave and bond with their teachers.

“We all want our kids to have the appropriate skills for school. Imagine your child is struggling to focus on the board clearly or can’t catch in ball games and how this would make them feel.”

Children should have their vision checked every two years. 

WSLHD StEPS Vision screening was suspended for several months due to COVID-19.

If your child has missed out on vision screening at a preschool or you want your child screened bookings are available for December 2020 and January 2021 at Blacktown, Greystanes, Parramatta, Auburn, Doonside, Epping, Castle Hill, Rouse Hill and Mount Druitt.

No referral or Medicare card is required and appointments are free.

To make an appointment, call 8759 4150. For further information, click here.