By Dr. Mike Hausmann, a Vision & Learning Program participating optometrist
The Nebraska Foundation for Children’s Vision is conducting a pilot project in cooperation with Lincoln Public Schools Health Services to help those students who may not have access to vision care through other avenues. The Vision and Learning Pilot program is targeting uninsured students in Kindergarten – 12th grade in the LPS system. These LPS students are referred by LPS school nurses, are not covered under vision insurance or Medicaid or have other financial means to afford an exam or prescription glasses. The NFCV reimburses participating Nebraska Optometric Association optometrists who see these students according to Medicaid reimbursement protocol, with a few modifications.
The importance of a good eye exam for children cannot be overstated. I recently saw a patient who was very shy and was not doing well in school. His teacher thought vision may be playing a role, but he did not have insurance and his parents did not have the money for an eye exam. Through the Vision and Learning Pilot program he was able to get an eye exam. When he got his new glasses his teachers noticed right away that he was running around and playing – he never used to run at the playground, he could not see! He was afraid of running into something. Weeks later his teacher told me his grades were improving. He was able to move to a higher-level reading group. This shows how this program can change children’s lives – not just in school but also in life. Even this child’s ability to play has been enhanced by this program.
The program was recently awarded a $5,000 grant through the American Optometric Association’s 2014 Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) Community Grant Program. The grant is one of 17 grants made possible by the generous support of Luxottica USA.
If you know of a child who could benefit from this program, talk to their school nurse, call the NFCV office at 402-474-7716, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the Vision and Learning program.