Special to The Sun
During the 2012-13 school year Prevent Blindness Oklahoma screened 312,101 children throughout the state of Oklahoma. Of those children 44,895 were referred with possible vision problems for a comprehensive eye exam with their local optometrist or ophthalmologist. Prevent Blindness Oklahoma strives to educate the public on the importance of eye screenings.
“Twenty-five percent of school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem,” said Melanie Gamble, director of programs for Prevent Blindness Oklahoma, “and 86 percent of children never receive an eye exam.
“Many children will improve academically with vision correction,” Gamble said.
About 320 students at Rose Union Elementary School were checked Jan. 2, said Mary Ann Kite, school secretary.
If vision is the problem, early detection and proper correction can prevent permanent vision loss and negative attitudes toward school. PBO’s theme for the 2013-14 school year continues to be “Making Every Child’s Vision Count” as they count down to their 50th anniversary in 2015. “We want to continue to encourage school staff and parents to make sure that children who are referred receive an exam and glasses if needed,” Gamble emphasized.
Prevent Blindness Oklahoma is the only nonprofit agency in Oklahoma dedicated exclusively to eye health and safety. Through their Children’s Vision Screening Program, and a 28-year partnership with the Oklahoma Masons, free vision screening will be provided at schools throughout the metro area during the school year.