UH Moment

UH Moment: UH Initiative Tackles Vision Challenges for Elementary Students

“We all know we need to work together to get the job done.”

About 25 percent of all school children in the United States have a vision problem that affects learning, and about 20 percent need glasses. The University of Houston has teamed up with nurses in the Houston Independent School District to make sure students are getting the vision care they need.

“They need a lot of help just doing the screenings because there are thousands of students that need to be screened every year,” said Lenora McWilliams, an assistant professor at the UH College of Nursing.

A UH student administers a vision screening.

About 40 percent of students who fail the mandatory vision screenings in Harris County and Fort Bend County schools still don’t get help from an optometrist. Sight for Success is a pilot collaboration between the UH College of Nursing, Honors College, College of Optometry and HISD. UH students, trained as state-certified vision screeners, assist school nurses with screenings and then initiate outreach to parents or guardians of students who need glasses to identify the barriers keeping families from connecting with resources.

“We are trying to figure out what those barriers are to break them down and see if we can get the students glasses by the end of the semester,” McWilliams said.

The UH students then work with families to find available resources to make sure HISD students receive the necessary corrective eyewear.

“We all know we need to work together to get the job done,” McWilliams said.  “By working together, we are able to use different resources and work together to get the students what they need.”

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