Looking into the eyes of school pupils

Published: 27 May 2009 at 15:07

School children lend their eyes to a research project to check for reduced or abnormal vision in young children

The children of Meridian Primary School in the village of Comberton have combined with the Department of Optometry and Ophthalmic Dispensing at Anglia Ruskin University to lend their eyes to a research project. The research team from Anglia Ruskin, lead by Lecturer Yvonne Norgett, won a research grant from the College of Optometrists to evaluate new vision charts designed especially for children.

The greatest cause of vision loss in childhood is amblyopia, commonly referred to as ‘lazy eye’. The detection of amblyopia is important because to be most effective, treatment must start at an early age. Accurate visual measurement is an important part of the detection of amblyopia. By measuring the vision of more than 100 children, the team from Anglia Ruskin University hope to work out which of the test charts is best at detecting reduced or abnormal vision in young children.

The pupils have been preparing for the visit by learning about eyes and eyesight and designing their own groovy glasses. Heather Webster, key stage 2 teacher and Science Leader said:

"It is a wonderful opportunity for the children to take part in some actual scientific research. We spend so much time in the classroom pretending we are in real life situations."

"Head teacher, Glennis Virgo commented that she was delighted that the school is able to collaborate with Anglia Ruskin University in a way that might ultimately help to detect vision problems in children."

Dr Siderov, Head of Department of Optometry and Ophthalmic Dispensing and part of the research team, stated that

"This project exemplifies the commitment we have to conduct scientific research that will make a difference."

The Department of Optometry and Ophthalmic Dispensing is the only training institution for optometrists and dispensing opticians in the East of England. The Department operates a public optometry clinic in Cambridge and conducts vision and eye research.