Primary School Vision Screening at DIT

Contact: Claire Mc Donnell,


Since 2009 final year BSc Optometry undergraduates from DIT have been carrying out vision screening for primary school pupils in the ten national schools in Dublin 8. Groups of four graduates attend the schools with one qualified supervisor and in a two hour session approximately 24 to 30 pupils would be screened. Children who fail the screening are given a letter to take to their parents asking them to bring their child into DIT’s on-campus optometry clinic – the National Optometry Centre.

All primary school pupils have their vision screened by a public health nurse at ages 7 and 11 but a failure in this screening means that the child gets referred to a hospital (in Dublin 8 this is Our Lady’s hospital for sick children). The wait time between failing the nurse’s screening and an appointment in Our Lady’s hospital is 18 months. The wait time between the optometry undergraduates’ screenings and an appointment in a paediatric student clinic in the National Optometry Centre is no longer than a month. The undergraduates write a reflection on their experience at the end of the project and to date these reflections have shown the enormous enthusiasm for the project and an increased awareness of the inequities in the Irish healthcare system.


Discipline: Science
Institution: Dublin Institute of Technology
Activity: Service Learning/Community Based Learning

Additional Information

Academic Discipline: BSc Optometry
Module Title: Paediatric Optometry
Typical number of students: 24
Year(s) of Programme: 4th Year
Credits (ECTs): 10
Mandatory: Yes
Assessment method: practical assessments while out on school screenings and in optometry clinics, a written reflection at the end of the project.
First established: 2009
Typical number of hours: 3 hours a fortnight
Learning outcomes: On completion of this module, the learner will be able to:

Recognise common childhood vision disorders and appropriate referral of these;
Describe the role of vision in learning disabilities and the role of optometric remediation in addressing these disabilities as part of a multidisciplinary team;
Carry out age-appropriate paediatric optometric examination methods;
Carry out age-appropriate management, prescription and ophthalmic dispensing options suitable for paediatric patients;
Carry out paediatric vision screenings;
Refer children for specialist opinion when required;
Reflect on their role as an paediatric optometrist.
Case study website/link:
Community Partners: Ten national schools in Dublin 8


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