Eye Heroes: Raising awareness about eye health by training children to be eye health champions
PHE ePoster Library. Shweikh Y. Sep 10, 2018; 221189; 188
Dr. Yusrah Shweikh
Dr. Yusrah Shweikh
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Abstract IntroductionRegular eye examinations could have prevented sight loss for at least half of those living with sight loss today. People do not present for eye tests due to a lack of awareness, poverty, language barriers, social isolation, disability, old age, inertia and fear. Regular eye tests detect treatable conditions effectively and poor uptake represents a major risk to vision. Eye Heroes is a low-cost public health intervention designed to reduce preventable sight loss. Intervention Eye Heroes (www.eyeheroes.org.uk) trains children through interactive workshops to become eye health champions, encouraging people in their communities to attend for regular eye tests. Workshops are delivered by volunteers in schools and involve games, animations, sight loss simulation and role-plays. Impact In 2017, 133 workshops were delivered training >3,200 children as eye health champions, informing approximately 24,856 people about eye health. This resulted in an estimated 10,546 eye tests. Each child informed on average 8.6 people (SD 11.2) about eye health, converting to an average of 3.6 eye tests (SD 4.6) among those informed per child.Conclusion Early diagnosis through regular eye tests helps safeguard vision. Immediate individual benefits are clear. Additional benefits include avoiding the negative sequelae of sight loss; reduced independence, reduced social participation, limited employment opportunities and greater incidence of accidents/co-morbidities. Costs of avoidable blindness are high for individuals, society and the health and social care system overall. The need for primary prevention is pressing. Our preliminary work demonstrates proof-of-concept for the Eye Heroes model. External funding details Funded in 2017 by the L'Occitane Foundation.
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