The Eyes That Thrive in Preschool program is a wonderful example of the power of collaboration to improve the vision health of children. The goal of the program is to support classroom based care of prescribed treatment plans for children diagnosed with vision conditions. The optimal time to treat vision conditions, including amblyopia, conditions leading to amblyopia and significant refractive errors, is during the preschool years. Diagnosis of a vision condition is only useful if a child is able to access and participate in treatment. Preschool based education, communication, advocacy, facilitation and supervision of vision interventions can link parents, pediatricians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, teachers and health managers to have a positive impact on visual outcomes for children.
The Eyes That Thrive in Preschool program was made possible through a collaboration between ABCD Head Start in Boston, MA, the New England College of Optometry, and Prevent Blindness America- Northeast Region, and funding was provided through a Healthy Eyes Healthy People grant.
The program provided children ages 2-4 at four ABCD Head Start (HS) sites (Chinese Church HS, South End HS & Early HS, East Boston HS & Early HS, and Roxbury HS Child & Family Development Center) with vision screenings, comprehensive eye examinations for those referred, two pairs of glasses, professional fitting, an individualized vision action plan with compliance monitoring, resource materials in native languages, and education for parents as well as staff at each of the Head Start locations.