Eye Health & Good Vision Message 11
This message and lesson plan is from our Children’s Participation in Eye Health and the Promotion of Good Vision resource book for teachers and educators. Read more about the book and download it now!
Some children are born with small white dots in their eyes.
This causes blindness and can be treated.
- Children know and feel able to share the message on Signs of Vision Problems in Young Children.
- Children can spot signs in young children who might have vision problems like cataracts.
- Children have reflected on the session.
- Children have planned a question to ask at home to discuss the signs of vision problems in young children.
- Find out if there is someone in the children’s families that have suffered from cataracts. Let them know that in this session, you will be talking about the signs of cataracts in very young children and what can be done to help them. If there is someone in the school community who has experience of cataracts (either they have had a cataract operation themselves, or they know someone who has) invite them to join this lesson and to speak about their experience.
- Make sure that the group has some understanding of the parts of the eye, especially the pupil, which should be black. Topic Two is about this.
A small piece of thin white paper, for example, sheets of toilet paper, one per person.
- Revise the Parts of the Eye Topic.
- Distribute the sheets of white paper. Ask the group: What is it like to have a cataract?
- Ask the children to hold up the paper to one eye and look through it.
- Ask: What can you see? Explain:
This is what the world looks like for a person who has a cataract. This is because the black part (pupil) becomes cloudy and does not allow enough light to come into the eye. An operation can help to clean the cloudiness so that the person can see clearly again.
It is like removing the paper from in front of your eyes. The cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In some operations, a new lens is put in the eye. If a lens is not put into the eye, the person is given spectacles to wear. Not all babies and young children who have cataracts have a white spot, but they can still have cataracts or other vision problems.
By four months old, most babies will start to look around or track movement. Both eyes should be looking in the same direction. Check that the baby is doing this, and if not, the baby needs to be checked by a health worker.
- Ask: What are the three signs that a baby or young child has vision problems?
(Answer in chorus)
- A WHITE OR CLOUDY DOT
- NOT TRACKING OR LOOKING AROUND
- EYES THAT DO NOT LOOK IN THE SAME DIRECTION
- Ask the children to repeat this individually to themselves several times and then practice asking each other the question.
- Tell the children this story (or adapt a version of it):
One day, when Abu was four years old, he was playing in the courtyard. It was a sunny day. His mother noticed that he was bumping into things. When she threw a ball to him, he could not catch it. Abu was unhappy. His mother hugged him and wiped the tears off her son’s face. While Abu was gazing at his mother’s eyes, his mother noticed that the pupil in one of Abu’s eyes was not black, but white. Abu’s mother thought it was due to crying, and she tried to wipe it away, but the white colour did not go away.
Without waiting for her husband to return from the market, she took her son to the Health Clinic. The health worker told her that Abu had a cataract and that an operation would cure him, but they must take him to the hospital. When she told her husband, he could not believe it, “I thought that only old people suffer from cataract!”. They were afraid, but they agreed to the operation. It was this operation that gave Abu his sight. He can now catch a ball and laughs and plays with his friends.
- If time allows ask the children to retell this story or to act it out.
In a circle, the children say in turn what they learned and enjoyed about this session.
Repeat the message together and ask those that know it to share with classmates, friends and family. Encourage the children to tell their friends and family the signs of a cataract and that they should go to the clinic or health centre to get it checked.