by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern:
The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, established by Prevent Blindness, “supports the development of a public health infrastructure to promote and ensure a comprehensive, multi-tiered continuum of eye health and vision care for young children.” The Center is holding a webinar on June 15, 2023 from 1 to 2 pm ET to provide free training on how to carry out vision screenings for both children and adults. Vision screenings play a pivotal role in eye health, as early detection is key to achieving the best possible outcome for many eye conditions. At times the first step in addressing eye conditions, vision screenings increase the number of individuals needing care who ultimately receive comprehensive eye exams and necessary treatment. Some learning objectives outlined for the webinar are to “understand the importance of healthy sight to support life in the U.S.” and to be able to “describe the evidence-based vision screening methods and tools adapted for newcomer populations.” Register here for Vision Screening for Newcomer Children and Adults.
How to Find Free Vision Screenings and Eye Exams
If you are interested in a vision screening or eye exam for you or a loved one, some free screenings and exams are available through different organizations across the country. Vision screenings are conducted in several areas of the nation as a way to identify possible eye conditions needing treatment. ChildSight, a program of Helen Keller International, provides screenings in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, and California. Another great resource to look into are local community health centers and universities, which often offer free or low-cost screenings or eye care, such as the SUNY School of Optometry in New York. You can use a tool provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration here to find a community health center near you which may offer free services. Free eye exams are available in some cases as well. InfantSEE, a national organization, offers a free exam for infants, regardless of family income or vision insurance. It’s managed by the American Optometric Association (AOA), and each eye exam is performed by an AOA member. To find a participating optometrist, check out the InfantSEE website. Another resource, which provides free eye exams for seniors aged 65 and older, is EyeCare America. This program is offered by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and allows seniors to get free eye exams from volunteer ophthalmologists, as well as receive a year of free care for any disease diagnosed through the exam. Check out the AAO website to see if you qualify, and find a participating ophthalmologist near you. For more information on vision screenings and eye exams, and their respective roles in eye care, read the article from Vision Aware describing The Difference Between a Vision Screening and a Comprehensive Eye Examination.