The Vision Van bringing free vision care to SMCISD elementary schools

Looking toward a clearer future for SMCISD
If a prescription is more complicated, that order will be referred to an eye lab for completion. Those eyeglasses should be ready in about four weeks, and will be delivered to the SMCISD campus for distribution to the child.

One out of four children in our nation has an undiagnosed vision problem, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), and the Center for Disease Control says that “vision disorders are the single most prevalent disabling condition among US children.”

San Marcos CISD is working in partnership with the E3 Alliance to bring the One Sight Vision Van, a mobile clinic that brings free vision care to our community’s children—including full eye exams and new prescription eye wear—to San Marcos. District Nurse Dyanna Eastwood is the program liaison, and she’s working in close connection with the elementary school nurses and parent liaisons to implement the program.

Students will be pre-screened ahead of time, and referrals will be made to the principal. Each elementary school will have information and permission forms for parents. School nurses, parent liaisons, and front office personnel will be able to assist with the forms.

According to Eastwood, each elementary school will be assigned a day in February or March. The Vision Van will arrive about 7:30 a.m., and trained healthcare professionals will start seeing students by 8 a.m. Five to eight students can be examined at a time, and the examinations will take 35-40 minutes. If a vision disorder is found, the student will be able to pick out their choice of available frames and as many as 60 percent will have their prescription eyewear by the end of the school day.

“If a prescription is more complicated, that order will be referred to an eye lab for completion. Those eyeglasses should be ready in about four weeks, and will be delivered to the SMCISD campus for distribution to the child,” Eastwood said.

The schedule for the Vision Van is as follows:

Feb. 27—Mendez Elementary

Feb. 28—Crockett Elementary

March 1— Hernandez Elementary

March 2— Travis Elementary

March 20— Bowie Elementary

March 22— De Zavala Elementary

Achievement problems in school can often be traced to vision disorders. The AOA says that up to 94 percent of children with reading problems have reduced visual skills. The ability to see is crucial.

Eastwood adds, “In many cases, a pair of glasses has made the difference in helping a child perform better in school. If they can’t read the instructional material, learning suffers.  And most of the time, children aren’t aware that they are not seeing normally. It’s up to teachers, nurses, parents, and other caregivers to maintain their eye health.”

The Vision Van is part of the Kids Vision for Life program of Essilor Vision Foundation. Operative since 2008, the program’s mission is to provide quality vision care and prescription lenses to students, regardless of access and expense issues. The services are provided “on site at local schools and at no cost to the family” according to their flyer.

The E3 Alliance is a regional partnership whose mission is to support greater educational achievement and quality of life for our children. Their collective impact approach includes working closely with school districts, businesses, non-profits, institutions of higher education, and policy leaders to address community issues.

• Submitted by SMCISD

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666