StEPS – State-wide Eyesight Preschooler Screening

The StEPS program is an initiative of NSW Health and offers all 4-year old children free vision screening before they start school.Why would my child need their vision screened?

  • Children rarely complain of eye problems
  • Children may not realise they can’t see well
  • Some children can see well with one eye but have very poor vision in the other eye
  • Children’s eyes may look OK and parents/carers might think that their child can see well but some children might still have a vision problem
  • The only way to tell if a child has a vision problem is to have the child’s vision tested one eye at a time.

The MNCLHD is targeting preschools and child care centres to offer all 4-year old children a free vision screening.

Centrelink have made mandatory the 4 year old Vision screen with StEPS or an Optometrist and the “Healthy kids check” (HKC), for the payment of Family Tax Benefit A.

For those children starting school in 2013 who may have missed StEPS at their Preschool or childcare centre or who did not attend a Preschool it is recommended to attend a screening in January at one of the following clinics.

  • Port Macquarie Community Health Centre – Tuesday 22 January
  • Laurieton – Tuesday 22 January
  • Wauchope – Wednesday 23 January
  • Kempsey District Hospital – Wednesday 23 January
  • Macksville Community Health Centre – Wednesday 23 January
  • Woolgoolga Community Health Centre – Tuesday 29 January
  • Coffs Harbour Child & Family Health Centre – Wednesday 30 January

The StEPS program has now been successfully conducted by the MNCLHD for the past three years with Registered Nurses visiting preschools and childcare centres to conduct Eyesight screening on 4-5 year olds.Consent forms are sent to the Preschool centres in advance with parents required to complete the consent to have their child screened. To have your child’s vision screened you will need to complete a consent form and return it to your child’s preschool/childcare centre. Following the screening parents will receive notification of the results and a referral letter if needed.

Any children returning to Preschool/Childcare centre in 2013 will have an opportunity when StEPS comes to their centre.

For an appointment, please contact Wendy Mutton, StEPS Coordinator, on 6656 7061.