Coast schools see eyesight tests
THE HEARTACHE that is often associated with poor eyesight is all too close to home for Hervey Bay’s Gwen Watt.
Her 10-year-old son’s eyesight is so bad he has been told it is highly unlikely he will ever be able to drive a car.
Ms Watt says her son was born with the problem but that it could have been corrected.
However when she took him to an optometrist in Gympie at the age of four, the problem failed to be picked up.
It was only when she teamed up with her now husband, behavioural optometrist Richard Watt, that the real picture revealed itself.
Not only will her son not be able to drive, he is also not allowed to play cricket, football or any other sport that could damage his good eye.
Her family situation highlights a major issue, Ms Watt says, of not receiving proper eye care as early as possible.
The key, she says, is for parents to take their children to a behavioural optometrist who is specialised in caring for infants through to teenagers.
Ms Watt says that if a problem is found, the solution is not always glasses but can be simple eye exercises.
The Watts have been visiting Hervey Bay schools performing basic eye tests on students in Year 1 and Year 4.
Eleven schools are included in the program, with Pialba State School already ticked off and Torbanlea and Howard schools halfway through the visits.
Ms Watt emphasises that the couple only carries out screening which identifies major problems – anything subtle can slip through the radar.
“If parents have a doubt they should always bring in their child for a full, comprehensive eye check, that way we can know for sure.”