Mount Vernon City Council President, Marcus Griffith is elated to announce that a private-public initiative with the 42 West Broad Developers, The Mount Vernon School District and a regional healthcare non-profit, Healthy Eyes Alliance, Inc., are launching a district-wide free vision screening program that will provide vision screening for 250 Pre-K students beginning Monday, February 29, 2016 at Mount Vernon High School. Healthy Eyes Alliance community partner, Lighthouse Guild International Inc., is sponsoring this pilot program in Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon City Council President Marcus Griffith stated, “You will find that in economically challenged areas, many children have vision problems that if not detected early, may have life-long negative impacts, including difficulty with learning, because children cannot read what they cannot see. The council is proud to collaborate with the 42 West Broad Developers in bringing Healthy Eyes Alliance to the Mount Vernon school district.”
While only an eye doctor can diagnose and treat a vision problem, vision screenings are an accurate, cost-effective way to detect potentially blinding eye diseases and vision problems and prevent treatable blindness.
Using a state of the art vision screener that is no bigger than small hand-held video camera, Healthy Eyes Alliance’s certified vision screener and Metro-area Program Manager, Genny Alexander, will identify preschool children who need a full eye exam and refer those that fail the screening for follow-up eye exams and glasses if necessary. “It’s critically important for children to be screened at an early age. Vision problems detected early, will prevent unnecessary vision loss and early treatment will lead to more successful outcomes.” Children who fail the screening will be given a variety of options for follow-up care…eye exams etc. including Lighthouse Guild’s clinical education and rehabilitation resources, as well as vouchers for free vision services for those that qualify for HEA’s Sight for Student Program.
HEA’s President and CEO Kathy Garre-Ayars says “ We focus a lot of attention on preschool vision screenings because delayed diagnosis of vision problems can lead to learning difficulties, and delay motor and social development. Ultimately our vision screening program is one of the first steps to a successful educational experience for young children and saves sight!”
The Mount Vernon connection began with a conversation between Council President Griffith and the CEO of the Alexander Development Group, Mark Alexander who is the co-developer of the luxury 42 Broad development. “From day one, we promised the Mount Vernon City Council that we would be true partners in this community. What a better way to get involved than through positively affecting the lives of our youngest citizens.”
The Mount Vernon City School District’s participation in city-wide vision screening initiative is being coordinated by Supervising Nurse, Ronna Juliano Ms. Juliano noted, “Normally these tests result in some recommendations to parents that their children should visit an eye doctor for follow-up examination, diagnosis and care.”
According to Ms. Juliano vision screening sessions have been scheduled for the following dates and locations:
Mount Vernon High School – Monday, February 29, 2016
Graham Elementary School – Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Turner Elementary School – Monday, March 7, 2016
Traphagen Elementary School – Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Columbus Elementary School – Monday, March 14, 2016
Edward Williams Elementary School – Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Williams H. Holmes Elementary School – Wednesday, March 16, 2016