New efforts help fill gaps in eye care for children | Health

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STATEPOINT MEDIA – Healthy eyesight is essential for academic success. Studies show that children with visual impairments may experience lower levels of academic achievement and self-esteem than their peers who see normally. This is why it is important that all children have an annual eye exam.

However, due to a variety of factors, including a lack of insurance coverage and access to health services, not all children are eligible for an eye exam. The global Sight For Kids program, co-founded by Johnson & Johnson Vision and the Lions Clubs International Foundation, aims to break down these barriers in the United States.

“The ability to see is not a privilege. It is a right owed to every child in our community and beyond, ”said Shlomi Nachman, Group President, Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions Group and Johnson & Johnson Vision.

It turns out that teachers are often the first to notice that a child needs vision correction. Teachers have the ability to identify changes in behavior and notice when children are suffering socially and academically, which can be attributed to poor vision. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, students in grades 3 through 7 who received vision correction through a school-based vision program performed better in reading. That’s why Sight For Kids provides training for teachers to provide eye health education and mobilizes local Lions clubs to find common eye conditions. Students identified with visual impairment or potential eye disorders are then referred to healthcare providers for a comprehensive assessment. In an effort to reduce inequalities in eye care, the program also provides students with eye health education, screening, eye exams, glasses, and special treatment and follow-up care, if necessary.

“As teachers, if we notice any signs of vision problems, we can refer students and their families to the appropriate health care provider,” said Edna Johnson, a teacher at St. Lucia County schools. .

In the South Florida region, Johnson & Johnson Vision and LCIF are working with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired through its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision program to help 20,000 students facing inequalities achieve essential eye care, including eye health education materials in four languages ​​to meet the needs of diverse communities.

“This program allows us to ensure that children in our community get the eye exams and glasses they need to be successful in school and to potentially prevent serious eye health problems before they cause damage.” permanent, ”said Virginia A. Jacko, Miami President and CEO. Lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired and Heiken Children’s Sighting Program in Florida.

Nearly 2,000 children in South Florida have had eye exams since September alone, thanks to Sight For Kids and 4 million worldwide in the past year. Among those who benefited from the program, Rajiv was prescribed his first pair of glasses. Her mother knew her interaction in class was affected due to poor vision, but she was unable to take time off work to get him to have an eye exam. Yensi’s parents don’t have insurance and can’t afford eye care, but thanks to the program, Yensi has received a referral for a free exam. Kimberly’s parents, who recently immigrated to the United States, felt unsafe seeking eye care for their second-grader. Thanks to Sight For Kids, Kimberly was prescribed her first pair of glasses in an environment where her family could feel safe and educated in her native language. Ruth’s family also recently immigrated. Diagnosed by the optometrist during the Sight for Kids screening, Ruth is back in class wearing glasses and following her classmates.

“Often immigrant students don’t have the access, capacity or insurance to cover eye exams and they struggle in school or socially,” says Ruth’s mother.

One clear way to help kids thrive in school is to make sure they get an eye exam. Are you a parent or caregiver? Schedule an eye exam for your little one today. To find an ophthalmologist near you, visit prioriseryoureyes.com/eyeexam.

Healthy vision is essential for overall health and academic success. Reducing inequalities in eye care has a huge impact on individuals, families and communities.


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