n South African Medical Journal - Learner-to-learner visual acuity screening : a solution for early identification of visual acuity disabilities : research

Volume 103, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The National School Health Policy guidelines (2002) stipulate that primary school learners should have their vision, speech, hearing, mental health, teeth, nutrition and development screened annually. In reality, especially in under-resourced areas such as the Eastern Cape, many learners with disabilities are not identified, with profound consequences for their ability to learn.

This article describes a cost-effective and community-empowering solution, Learner-to-Learner Visual Acuity Screening, whereby secondary school learners were trained to conduct basic visual acuity (VA) eye screening for foundation-phase learners.
Of a group of Grade R learners, 30% were identified as having impaired VA and referred for ophthalmic or optometric evaluation.
This project created greater awareness among learners, parents and teachers regarding abnormal VA and increased interaction between secondary and primary school learners. This simple and cost-effective strategy could be easily and effectively replicated in other schools, helping to address the need for basic eye care.

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