Crane Schools Receive Grant to Help Screen Vision in Young Children
YUMA, AZ, June 8, 2021 – The Crane Elementary School District has been awarded a grant to receive equipment and resources to vision screen children aged 6 and younger, as well as children with developmental delays. The grant is offered through a partnership between the Vitalyst Health Foundation, the Eyes on Learning Vision Coalition, and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. It is open to the public and non-profit healthcare, education, and community organizations in the state of Arizona.
Grant recipients receive a current model of a portable, handheld SPOT binocular autorefractor device, also known as a photoscreener, designed to help quickly and easily detect vision issues in patients as young as six months. The device requires minimal training, captures readings with 97% accuracy, supports American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for early detection of vision risk factors, and engages children through lights and sounds. Health professionals can instantly view results to help them determine if a complete eye exam is recommended for the child. Along with the photoscreener, grant awardees receive training on the implementation and care of the device, help with the installation of reporting software on the organization’s computer system and training on data upload. They also receive quality improvement resources and support for the vision screening and referral process.
Crane District Nurse Coordinator Natalie Padgett, BSN, RN, NCSN, was inspired to apply for the grant because she’s seen firsthand how early detection in vision screening can help set students up for success in education. “For a variety of reasons, young children are difficult to screen and a lot of times are marked as ‘Unable to Screen’ by health aides. When that happens, an automatic referral is sent home to the parent for them to take the student to the doctor for further evaluation. Screening with the photoscreener requires no active input from the child and renders an immediate, accurate report. This piece of equipment helps detect the most prevalent vision disorders in children. If a child’s vision deficiencies are caught early, they can receive treatment sooner. As students, they will not struggle with vision-related learning difficulties, headaches, or eye fatigue.”
The photoscreener and accompanying software will help the district’s health aides quickly and accurately identify children who have vision irregularities early so that they can be treated by a medical professional, if necessary. According to Ms. Padgett, “Early detection and treatment of vision issues will allow students to become more successful in their academics.”
**Special thank you to Gowan Science Academy student Alexa for agreeing to be our screening model.