NSW StEPS program celebrates 10 years of free eye tests for children
Almost 700,000 preschoolers in New South Wales have benefited from free eyesight screenings thanks to a $4 million annual statewide program now celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy, Senior Clinical Advisor, Child and Family Health said the Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening (StEPS) program aims to diagnose problems early and prevent permanent vision loss and eye disease.
NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to implement universal screening for four-year-old children at preschools and childcare centres, and in 2018/19 the NSW Government is investing more than $4 million in the StEPS program.
“The NSW Government StEPS program is leading the way offering free universal vision screening to children aged four years of age at all NSW preschools and childcare centres,” Associate Professor Ms Murphy said.
“Children rarely complain of eye problems and often don’t realise they can’t see properly. The StEPS program tests a child’s vision one eye at a time which is the best way to establish whether they have vision problems.
“StEPS identifies potential vision problems as early as possible so children can receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The earlier the vision problem is detected, the better the chances of preventing permanent vision problems.”
More information on the StEPS program, including how to arrange a screening at your centre, can be found on the NSW Department of Health website.