The optimal time to treat vision conditions, including amblyopia, conditions leading to amblyopia, and significant refractive errors, is during the child’s preschool years. Diagnosis of a vision condition is only useful if a child is able to access and participate in treatment. Preschool and school-based education, communication, advocacy, facilitation and supervision of vision interventions can link parents, pediatricians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, teachers, and health managers, and result in a positive impact on visual outcomes in children now, and into their adult lives.
In research, the Eyes That Thrive at Head Start programs showed success for children, parents and staff:
· 93% compliance to vision intervention (eyeglasses and other treatment)
· Introduction of new concepts worked:
o Vision Action Plan
o Two Pair of eyeglasses (one for school, one for home)
· New policies for school compliance, and follow-up documentation
· Increased awareness in parents and staff of the importance of checking and treating childhood vision
· Community support from a multidisciplinary team
Healthy Eyes Healthy People® State Association Grants (Massachusetts). Administered by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and Optometry Cares® –The AOA Foundation, through a grant from Luxottica.
Preschools and schools can use Eyes That Thrive to help guide incorporation into your own program protocols.