Several studies have identified significant gaps in basic vision services for underprivileged children. In response, Florida’s Vision Quest has proactively engaged in strategic partnerships with local non-profits, universities, and foundations with the long term goal of impacting children’s lives with the gift of clear sight. These Strategic Initiatives add an additional clinical layer to its pediatric optometric services through full school vision interventions, state-of-the-art vision screening, comprehensive vision examinations, brand new eyeglasses, and tertiary care referrals, where needed.
This Strategic Initiative ensures children in Collier County’s Title I schools and high-need early childhood centers receive full school vision intervention. Since 2012, this Strategic Initiative has been proudly underwritten by the Naples Children Education Foundation, founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and will continue to serve over 20,000 children a year, through state-of-the-art vision screenings, comprehensive vision exams by eye care professionals, and when medically appropriate, children will also receive two pairs of eyeglasses - one for home and one for school. If further evaluation is deemed medically necessary, tertiary care referrals are made to local Ophthalmologists as well as summer camp experiences are provided for children with limited or no sight. This multiple modality structure treats children with even the most acute eye care challenges, continuing to provide the gift of sight for Collier County’s at-risk children.
Among Title I students and academically and behaviorally at-risk children, research indicates that up to 85% have vision problems that are either undetected or untreated (Johnson et al 2000, Zaba 2008). Research indicates that the earlier students are identified and treated for vision problems, the better the academic outcomes (Glewwe, 2009). The failure to treat vision disorders in children affect such issues as childhood development, learning performance, self-esteem, social-emotional behavior, academic achievement, high school drop-out rates, and juvenile delinquency. These startling statistics are evidenced throughout Florida where the need is far greater than services currently provided.
Currently, students are only screened for vision issues in grades Kindergarten, first, third and sixth grade. By any measure, the level of inadequate vision care for children is significant, and the need in far exceeds the current services provided. This Strategic Initiative ensures Title I school children that have “fallen through the cracks” in grades 7th through 12th grade receive vision intervention through vision screening, comprehensive vision exams and prescription eyeglasses, when needed.GET INVOLVED
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