<Insert Your Name>
Community Fellow, <Insert University>
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More than 40% of blindness in
the U.S. could be prevented or
cured by provision of
appropriate treatment in a
timely fashion. Unfortunately,
about half of blinding eye
disease remains undetected.
Cost and lack of sufficient
insurance is the most
important barrier to getting
an eye exam by an eye
doctor.
Needless blindness can be
avoided by educating people
about going to an eye doctor
regularly.
www.uniteforsight.org
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You are in a unique
position to educate
your clients about
the importance of
regular eye exams.
You can connect
families, adults,
and children with
free eye care.
www.uniteforsight.org
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Discovering vision problems early on in a
child’s life is an important part of helping him
or her do well in school.
 Avoid frustration
 Make reading easier
 Make learning more enjoyable
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In the case of some vision conditions
(covered later), early detection and treatment
is the only way to prevent loss of sight in the
afflicted eye
www.uniteforsight.org
The following may be indicative of a child
experiencing a vision problem:
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Eyes turning inward or
outward
Squinting
Headaches
Worsening academic
performance
Blurred or double vision
Losing place while
reading
Avoiding close work
Holding reading material
closer than normal
Rubbing eyes
www.uniteforsight.org
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Eyes tiring while reading
or doing other
schoolwork
Turning or tilting head to
use one eye only
Making frequent
reversals while reading
or writing
Using finger to maintain
place while reading
Consistently performing
below potential
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www.uniteforsight.org
If you notice a child
struggling with any of
these symptoms, he or she
may be experiencing a
vision problem
The next step is to make
sure that child has an eye
exam by an eye doctor
Vision screenings
(insignificant)
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Performed by nonspecialist health staff
Provide baseline VA
Do not test for eye
disorders, cannot
provide diagnostic
information
www.uniteforsight.org
Eye Exams
Performed by
optometrists or
ophthalmologists
Thorough
Can detect many
vision problems
and/or eye disorders
and diagnose them
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Test only distance visual acuity.
Fail to detect children who have reading
problems, hyperopia, or astigmatism.
Vision screenings are subjective
◦ A research study found that two school nurses
matched on their vision screening results for
only 86.4% of the students.
Ore, L., Tamir, A., Stein, N., and Cohen-Dar, M. “Reliability of Vision Screening Tests for School Children.”
Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 41.3 (2009): 250-259.
www.uniteforsight.org
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A study in New York City schools found
that 41% of children who passed a
distance visual acuity test still needed to
be examined by an eye doctor for other
reasons.
Screening solely for reduced visual acuity
may miss up to 40% with potential vision
problems.
Bodack, M., Chung, I., and Krumholtz, I. “An Analysis of Vision Screening Data from New York City Public
Schools.” Journal of the American Optometric Association. 81.9 (2010); 476-484.
www.uniteforsight.org
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Do not assume that children with
eyeglasses have recently had an eye
exam.
A research study found that 49% of eyeglasswearing children failed a visual assessment.
28% of non-eyeglass-wearing children failed
the visual assessment.
“Children Unable to Perform Screening Tests in Vision in Preschoolers Study: Proportion with Ocular Conditions
and Impact on Measures of Test Accuracy.” Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 48 (2007):83-87.
www.uniteforsight.org
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A research study was conducted in California high schools
among students who were identified by their teachers as “poor
readers”.
17% of the students had deficient visual acuity (20/40 or worse
in one eye)
80% of the children were inadequate or weak in at least one of
the following visual skills: binocular fusion ranges at near,
accomodative facility, and convergence near point.
80% of the students passed the visual acuity testing, but only
20% had adequate visual skills.
Grisham, D., Powers, M., and Riles, P. “Visual skills of poor readers in high school.” Journal of the American
Optometric Association. 78.10 (2007); 542-549.
www.uniteforsight.org
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Visits to an eye doctor can be
expensive
Not everyone has health
insurance that covers the cost
of eye exams
CHIP
◦ Each state has the Children’s
Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
which can cover the cost of eye
exams for children of families that
qualify
◦ For information on your state’s
program, go to
www.insurekidsnow.gov
◦ You can also call (877)-KIDS-NOW
www.uniteforsight.org
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Vision USA
◦ Through the American Optometric
Association
◦ Provides basic eye care services for
those who are uninsured and do
not qualify for government
assistance
◦ http://www.aoa.org/visionusa.xml
◦ (800)-766-4466
www.uniteforsight.org
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Have a job or live in a household where there is one working
member
No vision insurance
Income below an established level based on household size
No eye exam within two years
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EyeCare America
◦ Through the American Academy of Ophthalmology
◦ Provides basic eye care services for those who are uninsured
and do not qualify for government assistance
◦ www.eyecareamerica.org
◦ 1-800-222-EYES (1-800-222-3937)
www.uniteforsight.org
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Senior citizens
◦ 65 and older
◦ Have not seen an ophthalmologist for at least 3
years
◦ No health insurance covering eye exams
◦ U.S. citizen
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Those at risk for glaucoma
◦ Have not seen an ophthalmologist for at least 1
year
◦ At risk for glaucoma (family history, race, age)
◦ No health insurance covering eye exams
◦ U.S. citizen
www.uniteforsight.org
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Many people are not aware that Medicaid and Medicare
cover eye exams.
www.uniteforsight.org
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Nearsightedness (myopia)
◦ Most common visual problem
among students
◦ A type of refractive error
◦ Close objects are clear
◦ Far-away objects are blurry
◦ Students may squint to see
blackboard or presentation
materials
◦ Can be corrected with corrective
lenses such as glasses or contact
lenses
www.uniteforsight.org
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Farsightedness (hyperopia)
◦ Also a common visual problem
among students
◦ A type of refractive error
◦ Close objects are blurry
◦ Far-away objects are clear
◦ Students may squint while reading
or hold reading material farther
away from face than normal
◦ Can be corrected with corrective
lenses such as glasses
www.uniteforsight.org
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Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
◦ One eye is stronger than the other
◦ Student may show signs of
strabismus, but the two do not
always co-occur
◦ Over time, the brain may begin to
disregard signals from the weaker
eye
◦ If it is not detected early,
amblyopia can lead to a permanent
loss of sight in the weaker eye
◦ This disorder is only detectable
through an eye exam from an
optometrist or ophthalmologist
www.uniteforsight.org
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Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
◦ Common in schoolchildren
◦ The conjunctiva (lining on eyelid
and part of eyeball) become
infected and inflamed
◦ Highly contagious
◦ Prescription eye drops can treat
bacterial forms
◦ Viral forms clear up on their own
and cannot be treated, but
sometimes eye drops are needed
to relieve inflammation.
www.uniteforsight.org
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Lens of the eye becomes
clouded
◦ Most common in older people
◦ Clouded, blurred, or dim
vision
◦ Sensitivity to light and glare
◦ Halos around lights
◦ Fading of dolor
◦ Treatment: outpatient surgery
to remove clouded lens.
Mission Cataract USA covers
the cost of cataract surgery
for those eligible. Call 800-
343-7265
www.uniteforsight.org
www.uniteforsight.org
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Increase in fluid pressure inside the eye leads to
irreversible damage.
◦ Loss of peripheral vision, and leads to eventual
blindness
◦ High risk groups: African Americans over 40, everyone
over 60, and those with a family history of glaucoma
Vision changes are very gradual and usually not
noticeable until permanent and severe vision
loss occurs
Treatment: medication and/or surgery
www.uniteforsight.org
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Those with diabetes can develop diabetic
retinopathy.
Blood vessels in retina become damaged
Diabetic patients should have an eye exam at
least once per year.
www.uniteforsight.org
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