Nick wants to prevent vision problems in children

Children in Greenland have their eyes examined too late. Researchers and opticians are collaborating to find a solution.


By Nicoline Larsen


Today, children in Greenland do not get their first eye exam until they start school. But, according to researcher Nick Duelund, that is too late. If the children were examined earlier, it would be possible to prevent vision problems. His PhD project sets out to find a solution to this particular problem.


”The background for my research project is that children generally have their first eye exam far too late here in Greenland,” Nick Duelund tells Arctic Hub as we join him and optician Maja Overgaard for a visit to the Sikkersoq kindergarten in Nuuk, where they are going to examine the children.

Collaboration between research and business

Nick Duelund is a doctor and PhD student at Ilisimatusarfik and the University of Copenhagen. Through his PhD project, he is testing a model for how to make sure that children in Greenland will get their eyes examined earlier than is the case today. His model includes the country’s opticians, and one of them is Maja Overgaard from Majas Optik in Nuuk.


”I have agreed to participate in Nick’s research project because I believe it is important that we carry out early eye examinations of children, seeing as we do not always have optometrists available here in Greenland,” Maja Overgaard explains.


Maja regularly travels along the coast to examine adults, but in the future, it may be that she will also have to start examining young children. Nick Duelund is investigating whether the examinations that Maja Overgaard carries out can be used to detect vision problems in four-year-olds.

“Our goal is to ensure that all children in Greenland will receive an eye exam around the time they turn four,” Nick Duelund


“If we can detect vision problems when the children are four years old, we can also prevent them from suffering permanent eye problems. If, on the other hand, you discover the vision problems when they begin school, it may be too late to do anything about it,” Nick Duelund explains. “That’s why our goal is to ensure that all children in Greenland will receive an eye exam around the time they turn four.”


If Nick Duelund’s research shows that Maja Overgaard’s examinations can be used to detect vision problems in children at the age of four, it will be possible to create a model where the country’s opticians can systematically carry out these examinations when they travel around the country. That way, fewer children will suffer irreparable vision problems.


Take a walk on our ‘Knowledge bridges’ if you want to see other inspiring stories about collaboration between research and business.