Wednesday, 30 Jun 2021
New Eye Glasses Give Twins From the Philippines Hope For a Brighter Future.
If you have ever walked around a pre-school or primary school, it is clear by the number of bright pictures on the walls that vision and learning are intrinsically linked. In fact, 80 percent of what a child learns occurs visually. While this is good news for children with full vision, children with low vision who do not get the necessary support are at a major disadvantage. Not only does it impact their ability to learn and participate in the classroom, but it also significantly impacts their future life opportunities.
For Russel and Ryle – twin brother from the Philippines – accessing proper eye health services was the difference between not being able to read, to being able to read, learn and participate in school life.
Born two months premature, Russel and Ryle spent the first two weeks of their life in an incubator, without eye patches to protect their sensitive eyes from bright light. As a result, the boys developed poor vision which, slowed their development and learning.
Now 10 years old, both the boys attend a mainstream school, however they are in different grades – Ryle is in Grade 5 and Russel is in Grade 2 because he has cerebral palsy – a condition that has affected his development, resulting in learning difficulties and falling behind in school.
Living in a remote area in the Philippines, access to quality health care can be difficult. Thankfully the boys were identified by a fieldworker from CBM’s partner during a school visit and referred to CBM’s project partner in Cebu, to be examined by an eye specialist. CBM has been working with partners in the Philippines to reduce the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment through an inclusive and quality eye health system that is accessible for marginalised groups, including people with disabilities.
During the eye examination, it was found that both the boys struggled to read the written words on the blackboard and in books. Both boys were provided with prescription glasses, which were upgraded as needed, to maximise their remaining vision. The glasses improved their sight, helping them learn and participate in school and around the home.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, CBM’s project partner was forced to adjust their ways of working. They supported the boys through online consultations, checking their level of performance and identifying any challenges and support needed at home and in school.
Russel and Dylan’s parents are grateful for the support and assistance the boys received from the CBM project.