On May 13th last year Harlaxton State School became the focus of considerable local and national media attention when it was the first Australian school to receive vision screening from the recently established Essilor Vision Foundation.

Ten months later the Foundation, with the generous assistance of volunteer local optometrists and optometry students, has screened over 20 national schools, including 13 in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs. Another 50 are on the waiting list primarily in Victoria and South Australia.

On that day screening was offered to all 112 Harlaxton students and very pleasing three-quarters accepted the offer. 31, or 35%, subsequently received comprehensive optometric examinations and the Foundation’s free prescription spectacles were made available to those in need.

Toowoomba-based Foundation CEO Greg Johnson said, “If it hadn’t been for the extraordinary enthusiasm of Harlaxton Principal Maxine Lester the launch of our national screening program would not have occurred at that time.

“Maxine recognised that 80% of the information we receive is through our eyes and that the intervention of prescription spectacles could have very positive effects on learning outcomes and behaviour.

“Not surprisingly Maxine has asked us back to screen the new prep class plus new enrolments to the school which we gladly do on Thursday, 23 March from 9.00am. It will be fascinating to talk to her about the results from last year.”

Toowoomba and region media outlets are cordially invited to attend the screenings to talk to Maxine and the eight volunteer local optometrists and QUT School of Optometry and Vision Science students who will assist on the day.

The Foundation is a registered charity and citizens and organisations who would like to make a tax deductible donation to its works are invited to contact Mr Johnson at email greg.johnson@essilor.com.au or telephone 0498 015 230.