LAKE MARY, Fla., Dec. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At schools across the country, teachers are directed to send students to the nurse's office whenever they think a child may have a vision issue. This could be due to the teacher's recognition of a student squinting in class to see the blackboard, poor performance in class or disruptive behavior. The squinting is easy to identify, a troubled child is more difficult and that student could end up in the principal's office instead of the nurse's office.
Kelly Haynes is an experienced vision screener for Florida's VisionQuest, a non-profit charitable organization that conducts vision screenings, eye exams and provides glasses for public school students throughout the state. She has witnessed this confusion more than a few times, but is always happy to provide helpful insight.
"I screened a sixteen year old once who could only see a few inches in front of his face," said Haynes, who is able to quickly and accurately identify children with vision issues using the Spot vision screener. "The principal said the boy was always in trouble, getting into fights, always up in her face with an angry look. I explained to her that it is just because he can't see. He is squinting and getting as close to her as possible so he can see her face. It's not because he's angry, not because he's upset. It's just because he can't see."
Haynes says those experiences are the most rewarding aspect of her job, finding children and teenagers who don't know they can't see and then helping them. "Often when I talk to a principal about a child like this, I am told that those children are usually a disruptive element in class," said Haynes, whose team has screened as many as 1,500 children in a day. "Then I give the principal the results of the vision screening which clearly show that the child cannot see two feet in front of himself. This really helps principals to see the real problem, a vision problem."
Helping School Nurses
The normal procedure for students found squinting in class is to send them to the school nurse's office for a vision test using an eye chart. Due to requirements of child cooperation and subjective feedback, VisionQuest has found manual eye charts aren't always accurate identifying all of the students with vision issues. It wasn't until the recent introduction of the revolutionary Spot vision screener, which VisionQuest's research shows an almost 90 percent rate of accuracy, that school nurses can count on getting a quick and accurate reading for all the students.
"The eye chart takes quite a bit of time, just trying to get the student situated and then going through the procedure, which can be confusing for them," said Michelle Ron, the school nurse at Spirit Elementary in Deltona, Florida. "The Spot vision screener is wonderful! It's quick, accurate and they don't have to answer questions. Spot will benefit the school because it can save us time and money."
Many schools are learning about Spot through vision screenings conducted by organizations like Florida VisionQuest or Lions Clubs. Haynes has personally witnessed the important contribution Spot is making, by efficiently identifying students with vision issues.
"Using Spot, it literally takes just seconds to do a screening," said Haynes. "Kids are so amazed at how fast it is. They are expecting the big E chart with me asking them questions. They sit down and within a few seconds, they are done."
Haynes says principals love having VisionQuest come in to do screenings with Spot, because it is quick, accurate and provides little disruption to their class day.
"We have been fortunate to have gone through the cycle twice with the Spot screening," said Spirit Elementary principal, Brandy Hogue, whose school was one of the first to see Spot in action. "Two years ago, our school was a B school. Last year we implemented a comprehensive vision screening program with proper follow-up exams and glasses for those in need through Florida VisionQuest. While there are many issues facing school performance, we feel that our vision improvement program contributed to our school improving a full letter grade one year later. We were back up to an A school."
Hogue says principals across the country would most certainly share her appreciation for the Spot vision screener and its positive impact on student achievement.
"Spot's identification of students with vision problems is very important because if the students can't see the material or read the material, they obviously can't understand it," said Hogue. "And that is going to directly impact student achievement."
From her vast experience screening thousands of children, Florida VisionQuest's Haynes strongly recommends screening students as young as possible with Spot.
"I am most passionate about screening children at a young age," said Haynes. "If a child has vision issues which can lead to amblyopia, and they are not identified by age seven, the risk for permanent vision loss is very high. When I screen a child and find amblyopic precursors, once they have received proper care, I know that I have helped save that child's eyesight."
The breakthrough vision screener, Spot, was recently introduced into the market and can assess the vision of anyone from six months through adult with accuracy and unmatched speed, delivering immediate comprehensive results.
Spot has an incredibly quick capture time of one second or less which makes screening equally efficient in a physician's office or large-scale public screening. The portable WiFi enabled handheld device makes vision screening as easy as using a camera. Spot's touchscreen interface clearly displays the results accurately and instantly.
With Spot, a typical school can be screened in one day, dramatically lowering the cost of screening students. Access to the screening data is immediate and Spot facilitates a large scale data analysis. Spot enables administrators and educators to instantly print reports, monitor follow-up care and show supporters the statistics behind childhood vision issues.
PediaVision, inventor of the Spot vision screener, is dedicated to solving the critical problem of undiagnosed vision problems and transforming the lives of thousands of children each day. Automated and objective vision screening empowers organizations in public health and private medicine to positively affect the outcomes of a child's education performance.
Supported by ophthalmologists, optometrists, scientists and leading technology innovators, the Spot vision screener is breakthrough technology and represents what vision screening should be. For more information, including how to order Spot, please visit www.pediavision.com.