September 12 - 18, 2018

I read with interest the article in last week’s GulfWeekly about women being encouraged to enter the financial sector by a female group from FinTech.

It was clear that including women in this sector has great advantages in terms of improved outcomes and in general the article gave a very positive view of women’s roles in business and finance.

It was a great pity however that the headline included the term ‘girl’ in reference to what was clearly a serious article about adult women.

When we call women ‘girls’ we are using the force of language to make them smaller, we infantilise them by using a term that refers to females under the age of 18. We resist and deny their maturity, their adulthood and their true power.

I doubt very much that ‘boy power’ would have been used in a similar article about young men.

Vicky Honar, by email

Editor’s note: Vicky, I’m glad you liked the article and I am happy to clarify and justify the headline used. The full headline read: ‘Girl power rocks the sector’. It should be pointed out that ‘girl power’ is a slogan that encourages and celebrates women’s empowerment, independence and confidence. The slogan’s invention is credited to US punk band Bikini Kill, who produced a feminist publication called Girl Power in 1991.

Around one quarter of school-age children have some form of vision problem, such as short sightedness, astigmatism, cataracts, colour blindness, lazy eye or genetic diseases.

Many of these problems begin well before school age and can go undetected, and so screening at an early age is an important part of the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment process.

Here are three steps for healthy school-ready vision:


1. Manage screen time

Tablets, gaming computers and smartphones can help with hand-eye coordination and for the stimulation of neurons in the brain. However, they also have bright screens and these can create side effects such as dryness of the eyes, eyestrain, blurry vision, focusing issues and headaches. Children stare at screens intensively and don’t blink as much while using devices and so tears don’t spread across the eyes leading to dryness. Parents should try to limit the screen time for children to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

2. Outdoor time is great vision

Recent research from Canada shows that children who spend more time outdoors may reduce their risk of developing near-sightedness. Children seem to be becoming near-sighted at younger ages, around six to seven, rather than 12 to 13 as their eyes are constantly focusing on objects that are very close to them. The study shows that for each additional hour of outdoor time per week, the risk of a child developing myopia drops around 14 per cent – this may be due to the brighter light outdoors and the fact that there is more to look at outdoors, so the eyes are working harder.

3. Early and regular eye tests for children

Most causes of poor vision are easily correctable if they are picked up and treated in time. A child’s eyesight does not fully develop until the age of nine and if a condition like amblyopia (cross eyes or squint) or lazy eye (which can lead to permanent vision loss) is diagnosed early enough, the better the chances of successful treatment and complete recovery. Early vision screening is very important and children’s vision should ideally be tested by the age of three or four. Nursery schools should also check children’s eyesight, and notify parents if they suspect anything.

Eye tests for children are essential – they are quick, simple and painless and can help prevent serious vision related problems in later childhood or in adulthood. They can also pick up those problems that may inhibit the child’s development at school and performance in the classroom; it is surprising how many ‘disruptive children’ at school turn out to have a simple vision problem that is distracting them in the classroom.

Parents should aim to manage kids’ screen time, get them outdoors when appropriate and ensure they have regular eye tests.

Dr Darakhshanda Khurram, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist.


THERE is an opportunity for corporates and individuals to support Al Mabarrah Al Khalifia Foundation’s Rayaat programme sponsoring students pursuing their baccalaureate, masters and medicine degrees.

It offers several benefits to students, including covering all university fees as well as book costs, monthly financial incentives according to academic attainment, access to workshops and training opportunities in different sectors.

Rayaat also fosters a culture of ‘social responsibility” by instilling volunteerism and community outreach throughout its duration.

This year the programme included 40 scholarships for the Baccalaureate degree, along with Her Highness Shaikha Moza bint Hamad Al Khalifa Medical Grant in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI Bahrain).

For further information, please contact 17499909 or email scholarship@mkfbh.org

Al Mabarrah Al Khalifia Foundation.

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