Vision Van comes to Chatsworth Elementary School – Yahoo News


Nov. 13—Chatsworth Elementary School Principal Audre Allen said uncorrected poor eyesight can be a major barrier to learning to read.
"We have some students who are struggling, especially our (English as) second language learners," she said. "A lot of them do not pass the vision test we give here, so we really can't do the sort of interventions that we'd like to do to help them."
Teachers will soon be able to help those students.
On Wednesday and Thursday a mobile Vision Van came to the school through the efforts of Peach State Health Plan, a healthcare management organization, and Envolve Vision, an eye care provider.
"Peach State Health Plan is committed to providing healthcare services in underserved areas that improve all aspects of individual health, including proper vision care," said Wade Rakes, president and CEO of Peach State Health Plan. "In Northwest Georgia, access to vision services can be a challenging obstacle for students and parents. The Vision Van helps us bridge that gap to provide this valuable service that improves the quality of life for these young children."
All of the children whose parents gave the OK got a free eye exam. Those who need vision correction will get a free pair of glasses that will be delivered to them in about three or four weeks.
"We've got a group of children that we think this will have an immediate impact on," Allen said. "We've really been looking forward to this. It's going to be a big help for those students."
Allen said she hopes the Vision Van will return next year.
"I'm sure that we will have new students who will need it," she said.
The eye exams were hosted by the Healthy Kids healthcare clinic housed in the school.
"When this is done we are going to end up screening something like 250 children," said Steven Miracle, president of Georgia Mountains Health, the Morganton-based nonprofit agency that operates the healthcare clinic.
"It has been demonstrated that poor eyesight, if not corrected, harms academic performance," he added. "This is a wonderful program. We've identified 45 children so far who need prescriptions (for glasses)."
Miracle said without the Vision Van many of those students would not have had their vision problems diagnosed and gotten glasses for some time.
"Their parents may not have the resources to get an exam and to get glasses," he said.
The students lined up inside the school and each underwent a preliminary exam. If that exam detected problems with their vision, the students were sent outside to the van where an optometrist did a full eye exam and wrote a prescription. Those students would then go back into the school to pick out a set of frames.
Georgia Mountains Health has operated a health clinic inside Chatsworth Elementary School for nine years. Miracle said it serves students in Murray County Schools and their siblings as well as school system staff.
"We are seeing 25 to 30 patients a day," he said. "We have a nurse practitioner here every day that the school is open. It has a lot of benefits."
The clinic accepts insurance or Medicaid from those who are covered. It is also a federally-qualified health center, meaning it receives money from the federal government to provide healthcare for those who don't have insurance.
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