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As the eye health of teachers is important for quality education, teachers should be included in school initiatives. Involvement of teachers increases motivation for health promotion activities and reminders on spectacle wear6. In order not to interfere with activities focusing on children, it is recommended that teachers are screened either before or after the children are screened.

A flowchart for screening teachers' vision, including distance VA, near VA, visual symptoms, personal history of diabetes, ophthalmoscopy, and IOP if possible. It shows the pathway for those who pass or fail, leading to referral or provision of ready-made spectacles.

Prescription guidelines

  • Significant refractive error AND complaints of difficulty with distance or near vision OR VA improved by 2 lines or more with correction
  • Presbyopia: if plus lenses of 1.00D or more improve near visual acuity, or ease symptoms during near tasks

Conditions to look for in teachers

  • Presbyopia: The ability of the eye to focus on near objects declines with age, a condition known as presbyopia. In presbyopia reading and other near tasks become increasingly difficult, particularly under conditions of poor lighting. It affects most adults over 40 years old.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a chronic eye condition which affects 3-5% of adults aged 40 years and above in which the optic nerves are progressively damaged. While glaucoma causes no symptoms in the early stages, it can lead to total, irreversible visual loss. Early detection and treatment to lower the pressure inside the eye can prevent blindness. During screening, any teacher with a family history of glaucoma should be referred for a detailed examination.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetes is a condition of faulty metabolism of glucose. Its prevalence is increasing in most populations as a result of socio-economic development and changing lifestyles. Complications of diabetes can lead to blindness from diabetic retinopathy. Up to 10% of people with diabetes develop “sight threatening diabetic retinopathy” (ST-DR). Early detection and treatment of ST-DR can be highly effective at preserving sight. During screening, any teacher with diabetes should be referred for a detailed examination.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is the cloudiness in the lens of the eye that leads to a blurred vision. Other symptoms include faded colors, halos, sensitivity to lights, difficulty with night vision, and change in refractive error. In most cases, it is related to aging of the eye and can be treated by surgery.