Saudi school initiative identifies 391 students with visual impairments

The advanced program used by the foundation has helped diagnose children with visual impairments

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A campaign in schools to identify visually impaired students has revealed that out of 1,240 pupils tested, 391 are in the early stages of developing the disease.

Up to 522 students were stopped by their parents from undergoing the free tests provided by the Ebsar Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

Up to 35 employees from the Ministry of Health participated in this campaign and were aided by four trained female teachers.

The staff use a specialized program to discover any visual problems in children.

Mohammad Balo, secretary general of Ebsar Foundation, said his organization has now come close to identifying the serious visual issues threatening children.

He added that the advanced program used by the foundation has helped diagnose children with visual impairments.

He added that the diagnosed students would be transferred to specialized hospitals that will carry out consultations, needed surgeries and provide glasses or equipment.

Balo called on the corporate social responsibility programs of the private sector and financing authorities to help Ebsar increase their tours of Jeddah schools.

The campaign has already visited five schools, four of which are for girls.

So far, 144 boys and 1,096 girls have been tested.

A total of 17 students tested already had hearing problems, while 522 did not undergo the test as their parents refused to give permission.

This, said Balo, is because parents are not aware of the importance of early checkups and their role in preventing visual loss.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

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