New Zealand’s largest optometry cooperative continues to help protect the eyes of young Kiwis as it embarks on its annual ‘free sunglasses for new entrants’ campaign.
During the 13 years it has run the campaign, Visique has distributed more than 233,000 free pairs of sunglasses to new entrants throughout New Zealand. By the end of 2017, Visique will have protected the eyes of more than 241,000 Kiwi kids.
Visique optometrist Courtenay Le Cheminant says while the children are delighted to receive the sunglasses, it is also vital to teach them why it is so important to wear sunglasses while outside.
“During the summer months all New Zealanders’ eyes are exposed to UV damage, but it’s children’s eyes that most need protection. Eighty per cent of UV damage to the eyes is done before people turn 20, so for the past 10 years we have tried to get the next generation of Kiwis into the habit of protecting their eyes from the sun from a young age.”
Ms Le Cheminant says that caring for the eyes of New Zealand’s youngest generation will also help ensure their success at school. “Research shows 80 per cent of a child’s learning is done visually, so it’s really important that at the start of each school year children know how to protect their eyes and we identify those with vision problems.”
“A number of children between five and 12 suffer from treatable vision problems, so we strongly recommend that every child has a full eye examination before they start school to pick up any issues early on.”
Those families with a Community Services Card or a High Use Health Card may be eligible for subsidised eye examinations, frames and lenses for their children aged up to and including 15 years.
To find out more, contact your local Visique: http://www.visique.co.nz/practice
Pictured: New entrants at St Joseph’s school Dannevirke receive their free sunglasses from the Visique Dannevirke team