Just in time for National Children’s Vision and Learning Month in August, the Missouri State University Vision Screening Program started free screenings in central Missouri.
The first screening event kicked off in Lebanon Aug. 3 at the Lebanon R3 Early Childhood Center, Esther Elementary.
Detecting vision issues
Trained Missouri State service-learning students will conduct screenings using the hi-tech Spot Vision Screener. It can screen children from six months old and reveals vision issues within seconds.
“Vision screenings are the first line of defense for identifying vision problems,” said Dr. Kathy Nordyke, MSU director of citizenship and service-learning. “It’s crucial to diagnose problems in children as early as possible because 80 percent of learning occurs through vision.”
The screening team will refer children with potential vision issues to the Vision Rehabilitation Center of the Ozarks (VRCO) in Springfield for follow-up care.
Thanks to a grant the MSU Foundation received from the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation, 100 $50 scholarships are available to fund eyeglasses for underprivileged children who need them. VRCO will provide the frames and lenses.
The Green Foundation solely supports programs and projects located in or serving central Missouri residents. MSU students from a spring 2018 service-learning grant writing class wrote the grant proposal.
“We’re in an area where families are under-resourced and I believe this program will be a tremendous asset,” said Dr. Sheila Moore, director of early childhood, Lebanon R3 School District.
About the program
The MSU Vision Screening Program began in fall 2013. To date, its student volunteers have screened more than 35,000 people throughout southwest Missouri.
The screenings in central Missouri will initially focus on schools and childcare facilities in Laclede County.