203337 Student nurse preschool vision project: A collaborative effort helps provide valid vision screening in preschoolers to prevent permanent vision loss

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:45 PM

April Nakayoshi , Prevent Blindness Northern California, San Francisco, CA
Larry Vitale, RN, PHN, MPA , San Francisco Head Start, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Nicole Cal Rodriguez, MPH , Prevent Blindness Northern California, San Francisco, CA
Amblyopia (lazy-eye) is the most common visual impairment of childhood, affecting 2-3% of preschoolers. Amblyopia occurs when the brain does not receive adequate stimulation during the critical period of neural development (ages 0 – 6 years) which can lead to lifelong visual impairment. However, a child with amblyopia often looks perfectly normal, and 3 -5 year old children rarely complain of vision problems, so this condition often remains undetected and untreated. Accurate vision screening during the preschool ages is critical, but difficult to carry out in a clinical setting due to time constraints and lack of specialized training among office staff. Though Head Start is mandated to assure children receive valid vision screening, having adequately trained personnel on site to perform such screenings is a continued challenge.

A unique partnership between San Francisco Head Start, Prevent Blindness Northern California (PBNC), and the San Francisco State University (SFSU) nursing program has created an innovative solution to this problem. PBNC vision screening professionals educate and train SFSU student nurses on the principles and best practices of preschool vision screening. The nurses then provide vision screening to the Head Start children at the preschool site. This collaboration provides the nursing students with valuable clinical experience and knowledge of techniques in performing valid vision screening, while ensuring Head Start students receive high quality and timely vision screening which can prevent permanent vision loss. In the 2007-08 school year, nearly 1000 San Francisco Head Start preschool children received vision screening services through this collaborative program.

Learning Objectives:
Identify possible partnerships with student nursing organizations to provide greater access to vision healthcare services Analyze potential barriers to adequate vision screening in the preschool population and ways to remove them Design a community partnership program that is easily replicable to other venues or areas of health

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Program Director for Prevent Blindness Northern California I have 8 years experience coordinating and administrating the Prevent Blindness Northern California vision screening and education program, serving tens of thousands of children and adults each year
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.