Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Eye Care Initiative Announced for Special Olympics Nationals

Media Release: 28 November 2013

Eye Care Initiative Announced for Special Olympics Nationals

Hundreds of New Zealand's top Special Olympics athletes will be screened for undiagnosed eye conditions thanks to a local charitable initiative.

Around 800 Kiwi athletes with an intellectual disability will benefit from the eye screening initiative which will see them receive specialist eye care during their event in Dunedin from November 27 to 30

The screenings will be provided with the help of the Special Olympics sponsor Essilor, a global player in eye research and treatment.

The General Manager for Essilor NZ Thomas Martin says a great number of Special Olympics athletes suffer poor eye health, as they can be more difficult to examine, require specialist equipment and skills, and need a longer examination time.

Thomas says the assessment process is a "huge" undertaking for the 42 specialist optometrists, technicians and volunteers who will screen as many of the nearly 1200 competitors as they can and manufacture lenses for around 300 within 3 days.

A recent study by Special Olympics New Zealand which provides sports training, competition and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities showed that nine out of 10 athletes failed their Opening Eyes screening tests.

Thomas says this is because funds are often difficult to secure for spectacle and ophthalmic care, especially if spectacles are misplaced or broken and it can be difficult for this group to maintain a current pair.

"This population have a higher medical spend and sometimes choices need to be made about where best to spend the money, sadly eyesight is one of the things that gets pushed down the list," he says.

The company has already screened more than 2000 athletes, provided more than 1000 spectacles and made 180 referrals for further treatment during the past three campaigns it has sponsored.

He says often the diagnosis of an eyesight issue and subsequent treatment is "life changing" for those affected.

"Sometimes assumptions are made regarding reduced vision that can be incorrect. For example many individuals with intellectual disability have difficulty with accommodation. Although an athlete might not read, they still benefit with clear vision for craft or work, or to see to eat," says Thomas.

He points to a case of an 18-year-old an Argentinean athlete who was dependent on care. Thomas says once he was diagnosed and spectacles dispensed he went on to maintain a higher degree of independence.

"This young chap went from having full time care to being able to use a public bathroom unaided for the first time. The problem wasn't his an intellectual disability to do this, he just simply couldn't see where to go," he says.,.

Thomas says unfortunately that in addition to correcting near and far sightedness, over a dozen other undiagnosed conditions were identified in athletes at the last games Essilor sponsored just four years ago.

"These ranged from Cataracts, Glaucoma, Pterygium, Blepharitis, Entropion, Ectropion, Strabismus, Amblyopia, Corneal Dystrophy, Keratoconus are other conditions that were detected in the screening process during previous games," he says.

Thomas says many of these illnesses are treatable if detected early enough.

"We have been working with these athletes for more than a decade and are extremely humbled when we see how grateful they are for the gift of sight. Many of them are moved to tears when they discover they can see for the first time and also the higher degree of independence this vision allows them to have."

The 2013 Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games will be held in Dunedin from November 27 - 30.

inserted image

For high-res images, please click here

-Ends-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>

Culture: RNZB Showcases NZ Artists With Two World Premieres

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s mixed bill Salute - Remembering WW1 which opens on 22 May will showcase the talents of New Zealand artists working at the top of their field. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news