Volunteers double eye exams for Oklahoma school district

Because of volunteer efforts, nearly twice as many Putnam County School District (Oklahoma) students received comprehensive eye exams in 2012 than in 2011.

"We educated nearly 10,000 pre-K to fifth-grade students and their families."

Ruthie Ruan, O.D. (right) at school nurse eye exam workshop

This improvement comes in large part thanks to Ruthie Ruan, O.D., project director and Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) grant recipient. Dr. Ruan worked with the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) and the School Nurse Organization of Oklahoma to educate school nurses, teachers, parents and students. She and her staff emphasized the importance of comprehensive eye exams and drew a clear distinction between these exams and vision screenings. 

Most vision screenings test only for visual acuity. Even the most sophisticated screening tools can miss one-third of children with eye or vision disorders. That's why the program stressed that comprehensive eye exams by an optometrist are critical; too many parents think screening is enough.

Young woman and child at pre-K eye exam

"With the OAOP's support, we educated nearly 10,000 pre-K to fifth-grade students and their families on the importance of comprehensive eye exams," said Dr. Ruan. "We distributed more than 28,000 fliers, delivered OAOP vision care educational materials to the School Nurse Organization of Oklahoma and its members, lectured at the state's school nurse conference, and provided an eye exam workshop for school nurses."

Dr. Ruan's dedication to the program speaks for itself, and so do the results. The program will continue, too.

"We are grateful for all the support we received from the American Optometric Association (AOA) Foundation, Luxottica and the OAOP in 2012, and we look forward to continuing our work," she said.

September 26, 2013

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