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The groundhog has spoken, and we look to another 6 weeks of Winter before we begin to feel the warmth of Spring. In Chicago, children are looking forward to playing outside, digging in the dirt and sand, and exploring the budding plants and trees. Let’s work together to make sure children have their best possible vision to explore the world around them.

Prevent Blindness elevates Low Vision awareness in February, and we have a special treat this month; our new NCCVEH Advisory Committee member Stephanie Klass wrote about her family’s experiences navigating services and assistive devices. We are excited to announce the Prevent Blindness Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Campaign for the 2023 and 2024 eclipses. Read more below. Finally, scroll down to learn more about our Prevent Blindness Children’s Vision Screening Certification Course and the scholarships for that training which are still available.

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Solar Eclipses and Eye Safety: New Resources From Prevent Blindness for the Annular Solar Eclipse, October 14, 2023 and the Total Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024

An annular solar eclipse, often described as a “ring of fire” will be visible from parts of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. all the way to the Gulf of Mexico on October 14, 2023. The next total solar eclipse in North America will occur across most of the United States on April 8, 2024, including a small band of total solar eclipse stretching from east to west across much of the continent. Prevent Blindness hopes you enjoy taking part in this important astronomical and cultural event. Before you do, please take the time to learn about the dangers to your vision and how to protect your eyes from injury during the eclipse. Sign up for solar eclipse news and alerts from Prevent Blindness at: Solar Eclipse and Eye Safety - Prevent Blindness. Download our free Solar Eclipse and Your Eyes safety fact sheet in English and Spanish 

Get ready for the eclipses early by buying ISO-Certified Eclipse Eyeglasses. You can buy quantities for schools through our partner School Health, Inc. A portion of your purchase goes to the sight-saving services of Prevent Blindness.

Solar eclipse activities will be available soon.

Sign up for our Solar Eclipse newsletter at Solar Eclipse and Eye Safety - Prevent Blindness to receive an alert when new resources are available.

Low Vision Awareness Month: Helping Children and Families

Low Vision is defined as vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Low vision disorders are often accompanied by other health dangers such as increased risk of falling, chronic disease, anxiety and social isolation. Children with low vision often need resources for learning and daily living.

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NCCVEH Advisory Committee member Stephanie Klass describes her family’s journey after her son’s diagnosis of vision loss at age 3:

“Many years ago, as a young girl in school, I began having problems seeing the chalkboard. My parents took me to the optometrist and my vision was able to be corrected with glasses. So naturally, that was my expectation 22 years ago when I took my 3-year-old son, Brandon, to see an optometrist at the recommendation of his preschool teachers who noticed he held objects very close to his face. Instead, what I learned was that my son had a condition called bilateral optic nerve atrophy, his acuity was in the 20/350 range, and he would be living with low vision for the rest of his life.”  

Read more

Low Vision Resources

The IDEA law ensures that all children from birth to age 21 receive Special Education Services such as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), an Orientation and Mobility teacher (O&M), and any other needed services or equipment. Many states have “Child Find” programs; children are often identified and referred to these programs by medical providers or school personnel. “Child Find” is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04) that requires Public Education Agencies (PEA) to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth through 21, located within their boundaries of responsibility who are in need of early intervention or special education services.”

Preschool, Head Start programs, or school district’ Special Education departments can help families find resources. Another great resource for family support is each state’s Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI). These centers work with families of children with disabilities and help them participate effectively in their child’s education and development

In Chicago, we have a wonderful Lighthouse organization; check out their resource list for caregivers with local and national organizations and agencies here

Additional Resources:

National Federation of the Blind: Parents of Blind Children

National Organization of Parents of Blind Children

American Printing House- Kids Vision Loss - APH

Living Well With Low Vision

Children’s Vision Equity Alliance Interviews on Eye Health for the African American Community

Prevent Blindness co-founded and supports the Children’s Vision Equity Alliance. Along with the National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Education Program, we plan monthly interviews on vision and eye health topics hosted live on’s Facebook page, which feature leading African American eyecare providers and other health experts. The series, “Seeing Eye to Eye,” can be viewed the last Tuesday of each month at 7pm Eastern. Archived interviews can be found on’s YouTube channel.

Do You Work with Children Who Receive Medicaid or CHIP?

Have you heard about the Medicaid “Unwinding? Medicaid and CHIP eligibility reviews have been paused since March 2020 due to requirements passed by Congress during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, states can now begin to “unwind” these requirements. As of April 1, 2023, states can disenroll children and families who no longer qualify or do not renew their coverage for Medicaid or CHIP. It is estimated that 6.7 million children could lose their coverage during the unwinding.


Learn more about “unwinding,” including specific requirements that states must meet to prevent coverage losses. Additionally, your organization can use this template to advocate for accurate information from state Medicaid agency to families about what to expect from the “unwinding.”

Learn what’s happening in your state and register for a webinar on March 17 at noon Eastern hosted by Georgetown University and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP).

Visual Impairment Partner Spotlight

The Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy Association (AADOA) was created to raise awareness for Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy and to help fund the medical research to find a cure. Their mission is to help every family living with ADOA find the answers they are looking for and to join together to find a cure. ADOA is an autosomally inherited disease that affects the optic nerves. It causes reduced visual acuity and is a contributing factor of blindness, vision loss or impairment, beginning in childhood. Certain gene mutations can also present other forms of atrophy in other areas of the body such as muscle weakness and peripheral neuropathy. This disease can be extremely debilitating for those diagnosed affecting almost every aspect of their lives. Living independently and being successful at home, work and/or school can be very difficult for someone with ADOA. The ADOA Association offers support and guidance to families, medical care connections a Give Back Program that helps families pay for low vision devices or any other items they may need to help them live successfully, and funds research to find a cure.

Visit to learn more. 

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Children’s Vision Screening Certification Course

We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Zenni Eyewear. If you work screen the vision of children in under-served communities, apply for a scholarship for the Prevent Blindness Children’s Vision Screening Certification Course. If you have a group of individuals who wish to become certified, your whole group can apply for scholarships. Contact Donna Fishman at [email protected] for more information. 

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