University of Alabama students provide free vision screenings to preschoolers

UA students give preschoolers free vision screenings

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Statistics show that millions of kids from across the country suffer from poor vision, including many here in Alabama.

On Monday, students from the University of Alabama tried to fill that gap in access to health care in west Alabama. Preschool students attending Flatwoods Elementary in Northport received free vision screenings. One by one, they sat in a chair and looked into a camera screen after the lights were turned off.

Members of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama provided the free vision screenings. “Especially for young children, they can’t tell you that they have a problem with their vision so we can screen them with a specialized camera," Hunter McNutt, with the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility explained.

UA students reached out to the kids as part of the Focus First Initiative. They say vision problems often go undetected because only some children get these comprehensive screenings.

“When we do these tests, we usually have about 10 percent of the children that fail," McNutt added. Pass/Fail test results are available in a matter of seconds. And they can identify whether kids have anything from an astigmatism to cataracts.

Children who have been identified as having vision problems are referred to a group called Sight Savors that will work with them going forward.

This fall, UA work study students will perform similar vision screenings at more than 55 other places.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.