202035 New England Eye/Renaissance School Vision Center (NEERSVC): Integrating comprehensive eye exams with traditional educational evaluations in a school-based setting

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:00 PM

Catherine A. Johnson, OD , Department of Specialty and Advanced Care, New England College of Optometry, Boston, MA
Stacy Lyons, OD , The New England College of Optometry, Boston, MA
Vision problems can act as a barrier to school performance, as well as social and physical development. However, eye care providers often remain disconnected from the school environment, particularly the process of school-based educational evaluations for children with learning difficulty.

In 2007, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School (BRCPS) partnered with the New England Eye Institute (NEEI) to establish the NEERSVC, a full-service eye clinic located directly in BRCPS. One of the primary goals of this partnership was to enhance the multidisciplinary resources needed to prepare children to succeed in school.

Historically, BRCPS students identified as having learning difficulty were referred for multidisciplinary evaluation by educators and school-based specialists, with little information regarding the visual function of the student. With the inception of the NEERSVC, a comprehensive eye exam has become an early step in this referral process so that visual barriers to learning can be treated expediently.

This model has minimized referrals for educational evaluations, particularly in kindergarteners, and allowed more efficient evaluation by other specialists when learning difficulty persists. Moreover, 60% of children in the special education program were found to have vision problems (75% with refractive error, 10% with strabismus, 3% with amblyopia, 15% with other binocular vision problems) that impact their education. While most of these children remain in special education programs, additional services due to correctable visual impairment have been minimized.

Case examples will highlight the impact of vision correction on school performance and reinforce the importance of novel approaches to pediatric eye care delivery.

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify vision problems in children as a significant barrier to learning and development. 2. To describe a novel model of school-based eye care delivery, including the integration of eye care with multidisciplinary educational evaluations and service provision in schools. 3. To discuss the impact of this integrated model on school performance and service delivery.

Keywords: Vision Care, School-Based Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am director of the NEERSVC.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.