EBR Schools use new, high tech vision screeners

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Thursday was a big test day for the kids at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet.  The results play a big role in how well they learn.

"Vision is the most important things that we do because it is directly connected with learning to read and that's the key to education," said CEO of Health Centers in Schools Sue Catchings.

Health Centers provides free medical screenings and services for student age kids.

The kids are being screened for vision and hearing. State law requires schools test elementary students each year.

However, the method of reading letters off a chart is changing.  Health Centers in Schools provided state of the art vision screening machines nicknamed, the virtual optometrist. Each device, screens for lazy eye, near and far sightedness, astigmatism and more, in just a few seconds.

"We are always looking for a way to speed up what we do, but my biggest concern is the vision problems we've uncovered and I want the highest quality screen we can get. This machine is it," said Catchings.

The machines were purchased through thousands of dollars worth of grants and donations from local groups including The Rotary Club of Baton Rouge Foundation, the Every Kid A King Fund, the Farrnbacher Memorial fund and the E.J. and Marjory Ourso Family Foundation.

Making sure a child can hear or see properly doesn't end with the school screenings. Health Centers actually follows up with the family of any child who fails, to make sure that child gets any additional needed medical attention.

"It's actually making sure that the patient understands, the client the child the parent understands what the problem is, but we're not going to let you drop off our radar before we get to where we need to be," said Catchings.

Health Centers will screen around 25,000 Baton Rouge kids each year, and about 14 percent will need additional tests.

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