The objective of the programme was to collaborate with schools in ensuring that school age children have good sight and to notice any changes in their sight in good time, offering advice on how to prevent problems involving children’s sight and, if necessary,  issuing prescriptions for the purchase of glasses or contact lenses.

Certified and practicing ophthalmologist provided children with free consultations. Eye tests were carried out using professional mobile apparatus. In cases in which sight correction was required, children from impoverished families in need were provided with gift cards worth EUR 45,-, in order to provide them with the opportunity to buy glasses or contact lenses to correct their children’s sight.

From 2013 to 2017, 16 224 schoolchildren in 469 rural schools in 102 districts received eye tests, as a result of which 4 005 schoolchildren who received tests have been issued with free prescriptions to buy glasses/contact lenses. Read more about the results in this INFOGRAPHIC (results on 31.12.2017.).

Sight is one of a person’s most potent senses. Changes in the sight of school age children, which for various reasons have not been noticed or treated on time, not only make it harder for children to understand the contents of their teaching subject matter and to socialize, but can also eventually impair their prospects in the job market. Thus, it is important to detect changes in children’s sight early, as well as to provide them and their parents with the professional advice and assistance they require.

Data regarding the situation in Latvia indicates that at least 44% of schoolchildren in the lowest grades require sight correction (study — Latvian Schoolchildren’s Sight Screening, 2010). There are various reasons for changes in the sight of school age children including excessive study, computer work, watching television and not knowing how to relax and exercise their eyes, etc. An important factor in the successful correction of sight is wearing glasses. However, oftentimes, a family’s financial circumstances are an insurmountable obstacle to the purchase of glasses for a child who needs them. You can check out eye exercises here.