Mobile Vision Van to Meet Unmet Vision Needs of OPS Students
A third of Omaha Public Schools students fail a basic vision screening. More than 10,000 learners in OPS alone have an undiagnosed and untreated vision problem. Yet, for 90 percent of children, vision problems can be “fixed” with a simple pair of glasses.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center (www.childrensomaha.org) and Building Healthy Futures (www.buildinghealthyfutures.org) have teamed up to address the unmet vision needs of our community’s most underserved children. A mobile vision van, operated by Children’s and outfitted especially for pediatric vision care, will roll out to serve OPS students in early 2018. The goal for year one is to treat 3,500 students—growing to more than 6,000 students by year three. The program team will include a full-time optometrist, an optician, care coordinator and van driver.
Two years ago, more than 20 individuals and entities formed a Child Vision Collaborative to create a coordinated system of vision care for Omaha’s most underserved children. The group studied the community’s vision needs, evaluated existing efforts and proposed a mobile vision screening and care concept. The collaborative piloted their program in 13 OPS schools during the 2016-17 school year.
Vision screenings are planned at around 24 OPS schools during the 2017-18 school year. The screenings will be conducted by nursing students from five local nursing colleges: Clarkson College, College of St. Mary, Creighton University, Nebraska Methodist and UNMC. If a child fails the screening and needs further care, parents are given the option to either seek treatment independently or consent to have their child seen by Children’s mobile vision van during the school day. Students will be able to pick out a pair of glasses and have them delivered to school and fitted in just a few weeks.