APRIL 2024

The National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness logo

Children's Vision and Eye Health Update

The April 8, 2024 solar eclipse before totality. Photo taken by Jay Kaiser near Bloomington, Indiana.

Happy April from the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. We hope you enjoyed the April 8 total solar eclipse. Please join us for a webinar on May 29: Pathway to Diagnosis: Genetic Testing for Inherited Retinal Diseases. In April, we are celebrating Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month here at Prevent Blindness. See below for several resources for taking care of your adult eyes. We continue to celebrate the NCCVEH’s 15th anniversary. Check out this timeline of our accomplishments and donate $15 to help us continue our work creating systems for children’s vision and eye health across the U.S.


Webinar: Pathways to Diagnosis - Genetic Testing for Inherited Retinal Diseases

Wednesday, May 29, 2024, 2-3:30 p.m. ET

After the resounding success of our 2023 webinar on inherited retinal diseases (IRDs), the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health is pleased to present Pathway to Diagnosis: Genetic Testing for Inherited Retinal Diseases on Wednesday, May 29th, 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET.

In this webinar, you will gain a deeper understanding of genetic testing as it contributes to diagnosis for an IRD. Topics include when and how children may receive genetic testing; benefits of receiving results for diagnosis, registries, clinical trials, and treatments; strategies for providing information and support to families and children; and patient testimonials about their IRD journeys. Presenters include patients, an ophthalmologist, and optometrists. 

This webinar is tailored for families of children with inherited retinal diseases and visual impairment, patient support organizations, school nurses, early childhood program staff including Head Start, Early Intervention and special education professionals, teachers of students with visual impairments, and healthcare providers.

Watch the video of our inaugural webinar for vital background information and learn more about inherited retinal diseases at Prevent Blindness.

Register Today!

Vision Screening Success Story

a child receives new glasses after being referred to an eyecare professional as the result of a vision screening

from Susan Thompson, Health and Safety Compliance Officer, BHK Child Development Board, Inc., Houghton, MI

BHK Child Development is an Early Childhood Education Program that provides quality education to children 0-5. We serve children in our Early Head Start (0-3) and Head Start (3-5) programs.

In September, a child was screened using the Spot Vision Screener. It stated, "complete eye exam recommended for myopia."

I purchased a book called My New Glasses, by Anthony Cephas, and sent the book home with the child. I then made the eye exam appointment for the child at a vision clinic, and they welcomed her with open arms. I provided transportation and went into the eye exam room, along with the parent. The Optometrist stated that the vision screening that I provided at school was correct. The child does have myopia and will need to wear glasses full time. 

The child picked out her own glasses and wanted the color “purple” as this is her favorite color. She walked in front of the large mirror and placed the glasses on, smiled and said, “I like these glasses.” 

Prevent Blindness Children's Vision Screening Training Course

Unless vision screeners are trained and certified in a standardized program that promotes evidence-based protocols, children and students may participate in vision screening with different tools and procedures depending on where they reside or which programs and schools they attend. This varied approach leads to potential under-referrals and inconsistencies that can drive inequalities in children’s vision, eye care, and eye health in the United States.

To help ensure a consistent and standardized approach, the Prevent Blindness Children's Vision Screening Certification Course provides training and national certification in evidence-based children's vision screening protocols and techniques. The Course also highlights ways to help decrease the gap between vision screening referrals and confirmatory eye examinations. In addition to online modules, the Course provides individualized virtual skills mentoring sessions using teach-back methodology to ensure screeners use tools correctly and are comfortable with how they screen vision and follow up with families. This nationally recognized certification is valid for 3 years. You will also receive 5 contact hours for professional development.

Find Out More

Join Your Peers for our Interactive Virtual Office HALF Hour

Join the next National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health’s interactive Virtual Office HALF-Hour hosted by P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, EdD., on April 24, 2024, at 1pm ET. Last month's half hour included discussions on why we screen vision at school, the best ages for screening vision, not bringing glasses to school, and following up on referrals.

Join Us!

Adult Eyes: Women's Eye Health and Safety Month

According to Orbis International, globally, there are 112 million more women than men living with vision loss, and two out of every three people living with blindness or vision problems are women, according to the National Eye Institute. For some, pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. In most cases, these are temporary eye conditions that will return to normal after delivery. Those with pre-existing eye conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and glaucoma, should inform their eye doctor of their pregnancy to help monitor their health. Learn more here about women’s health from Janine Austin Clayton, MD, FARVO, Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Women have a higher prevalence of dry eye than men.

According to All About Vision, these changes can affect women during pregnancy:

  • Eyelids – Many pregnant women have increased pigmentation around the eyelids called melasma or chloasma.
  • Corneas – The corneas may change in thickness, curvature, and sensitivity during pregnancy. This can result in refractive error, which causes blurry vision. It’s also possible for women who had been wearing contact lenses before pregnancy to develop a temporary intolerance to the contacts.
  • Tear production – Pregnancy requires the work of many hormones. Sometimes these hormones can affect the tear film and lacrimal glands of the eyes, leading to dry eye syndrome.
  • Intraocular pressure (IOP) – Pressure within the eye decreases during pregnancy, though it’s rare for pressure to become dangerously low while pregnant.
  • Lenses – Accommodation is a function of the eye’s lens that allows it to change focus from distant vision to near vision. During pregnancy and lactation, some women have reported losing their accommodation ability. 

Women who have diabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes-related retinopathy

Save the Date!

Being Seen and Heard: The 2024 Focus on Eye Health Summit
Find Out More


Small Steps for Big Vision: An Eye Health Information Tool Kit for Parents and Caregivers

Small Steps for Big Vision

Want to provide a meeting or social to provide vision information for your families? A scripted PowerPoint presentation in English, Spanish, or a combination of English and Spanish provides education about common vision disorders in young children, the importance of vision screening, and the importance of arranging and attending an eye examination after a vision screening referral, following the eye doctor’s treatment plan, and participating in ongoing care. We also provide a training manual, handouts, and ideas for interactive and experiential activities so parents can understand how their children may see their world with a vision disorder. You can view a video of a Head Start parent’s reaction to the presentation on this webpage.

Find Out More
Focus on Eye Health Expert Series: Children's Vision and Parent Advocacy with Dr. Lauren Ditta, MD

Kira Baldonado, Vice President of Public Health and Policy at Prevent Blindness discusses children's vision, vision impairment, and advocating for patients with Lauren C Ditta, MD, Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmologist at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics at Hamilton Eye Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Watch the Video

Public Policy: Make Your Voice Heard

Supporting Vision and Eye Health at the CDC

Prevent Blindness celebrates Congress’s approval of $6.5 million for vision and eye health programs in FY 2024 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is already hard at work advocating for FY 2025. We are urging Congress to fund the CDC's vision and eye health programs at a total of $10 million. This funding will help to determine how many Americans are in danger of sight-threatening conditions and connect people at the highest risk of losing their vision to sight-saving care in their communities. In the U.S., for every $28,923 that vision loss costs, only $1 is spent toward preventing vision loss from happening in the first place. 


Take action today to urge Members of Congress to fund sight-saving vision and eye health programs at the CDC: Ask Congress to Fully Fund Vision and Eye Health at the CDC.

Sign up for Advocacy Alerts!

Medicaid Unwinding

Our friends at Family Voices have created some terrific resources to help support families during the unwinding of Medicaid, including a scripted presentation you can deliver to families: Stay Covered! – Family Voices

The Medicaid and CHIP Access Coalition released this issue brief on Medicaid school-based services.

“What’s at stake for Americans at risk of losing Medicaid as unwinding continues” (March 30, 2024) – PBS News Weekend

Give Help and Hope

Help us celebrate 15 years of providing you guidance to care for children's vision and eye health and make your gift today!

PVB-Main-Logo image

PreventBlindness.org | nationalcenter.preventblindness.org

Facebook  X  Instagram  YouTube  LinkedIn