Pediatric Vision Care Initiatives
Making a difference for Pennsylvania’s children
Pediatric vision care programming has been a priority of POA since 1999. At that time, the Pediatric Vision Care Committee was formed to address the fact that young children are not receiving comprehensive eye examinations, particularly prior to entering school. While there has been children’s vision legislation introduced both in Pennsylvania and nationally, this committee has focused its efforts on public education, given the difficult and complicated nature of legislation.
The Kids Welcome Here® campaign was created to give doctors, teachers and school nurses tools to educate parents about the importance of pediatric vision care. Through this campaign, POA has partnered with many organizations and agencies to improve pediatric vision care in Pennsylvania. Highlights include:
- POA developed posters and brochures designed to educate parents, school nurses, teachers and others providing care to kids about the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams for children. Materials include Kids Welcome Here®, Children's Vision 1-3-5® and Vision is Elementary® posters and brochures that are available through POA as well as a new "white pupil" poster that is avaiable to for download.
- POA worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Health during its revision of its School Vision Screening Procedures (implemented in September 2002) and developed a 2-hour education program to train school nurses in the administration of the new tests as well as help them understand the rationale for the additions. As a follow-up to the school vision screening education program, POA again worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to develop a 2-hour children’s vision education program that is pre-approved for 2 hours of Act 48 credits.
- POA has worked with the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners in developing language for children’s vision legislation introduced in the 2003-2004 session, has provided featured speakers for PASNAP annual meetings, and exhibits at PASNAP’s annual meetings.
- POA has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind on numerous projects as a result of Kids Welcome Here initiatives. POA has provided training for PAB Prevention of Blindness staff who administer vision screenings for kindergarten programs and spoken at PAB meetings. These efforts have led to opportunities for partnership in other areas of eye care, including collaboration on an HEHP grant related to low vision rehabilitation services and adaptive devices.
- Through good will created by the Kids Welcome Here campaign and other extensive efforts to work with the Governor’s Office to include pediatric eye care in the Governor’s Cover All Kids initiative, POA has embarked on a partnership with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s CHIP program.
Kids Welcome Here® campaign
In addition to offering public education materials to POA members, the Kids Welcome Here campaign can be licensed for use within other state optometric associations.
Approximately 400 Pennsylvania optometrists have volunteered to provide free vision assessments to infants under one year of age through the InfantSEE program.
Children's vision education programs for school nurses and teachers
POA has available an exclusive education program, Children’s Vision: A Guide for School Nurses & Teachers, that is available for members to present to school nurses, teachers, parents, civic groups or any others who provide care to children. POA also has an education program for school nurses providing training on the revised school vision screening guidelines.
POA has partnered with the PA Insurance Department and CHIP to educate parents about CHIP’s vision benefit.