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Helping Children Achieve Their Best Vision

school-aged children wearing glases

We are about halfway through winter, and some of you might already be seeing buds on trees and bushes. Let’s ensure children can achieve their best vision to explore the beauty of the forthcoming Spring! It’s not too late this school year to become a certified children’s vision screener. Also, in February, Prevent Blindness is helping to raise awareness about vision impairment, also called Low Vision, and we are excited to share a post by NCCVEH Advisory Committee member Stephanie Klas. 

In February, we have two additional opportunities for engagement: 

  • First, our monthly Office Half-Hour” hosted by P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, EdD, where she will answer your questions about vision screening, accessing eye care, and other vision and eye health issues (February 28)
  • We are excited to launch our first Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Awareness week February 26-March 1, 2024 (more information to come). Our thanks to Regeneron for sponsorship and to our organizational partners for making this new awareness campaign and related resources possible. 

We’re in the second month of our year-long celebration of the 15th anniversary for the NCCVEH. Learn more about our achievements, and don’t forget to donate $15 to support our work. 

Valentine's Day: Love Your Eyes

Valentine’s Day is a great time to remind students and families about the importance of vision and eye health. Prevent Blindness offers several images you can post on social media, share in newsletters, or post on your bulletin boards. Find the infographics here (scroll down to Valentine’s Day).

You are the Apple of Our Eyes! Happy Valentine's Day from Prevent Blindness

Office Half-Hour Answers Questions and Highlights Success Stories 

The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health held its first monthly Virtual Office Half-Hour on January 24, 2024, hosted by P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, ED. More than 100 individuals from 33 states registered to learn about vision screening and strategies to help children receive eye care. Attendees included university optometrists and representatives of state departments of health and human services, public health departments, state departments of education, Lions Clubs, local health departments, school nurses, and Head Start grantees.

The group spent time assisting one participant with finding eye doctors in an area with eye care doctors who would not see young children. Participants wanted to know about appropriate eye charts, instruments, financial resources, and tips for following up on vision screening referrals. Another registrant wanted to know why an overwhelming percentage of Hispanic children do not pass vision screening. The next interactive Office Half-Hour will be Wednesday, February 28, at 1 p.m. EST. 

Virtual Office Half-Hour
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Prevent Blindness Children's Vision Screening Certification Course

The Prevent Blindness Children's Vision Screening Certification Course provides training and certification in evidence-based children's vision screening protocols and techniques and how to create a systematic referral follow-up process. The course includes a virtual skills mentoring session using the teach-back methodology to ensure screeners use tools correctly and are comfortable with how they screen and follow up with families. This national Certification is valid for 3 years. You will also receive 5 contact hours for professional development.

Find Out More

The Total Solar Eclipse is Two Months Away: April 8, 2024

The path of the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. Do you know if the Solar Eclipse will be fully in view from your town?

Eclipse Lesson

Additional Eclipse Resources

And don’t forget to purchase ISO-certified eclipse glasses for the students in your classrooms through our partners at School Health. 

Parent Guest Article

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. 

Stephanie Klas, patient advocate and mother

Stephanie Klas, mother of two sons with visual impairment and member of the Advisory Committee to the NCCVEH, offers this blog about her family’s experience with navigating transportation and independence as her son transitions into adulthood. Here is her story:

“My son Brandon was born with low vision due to a diagnosis of optic atrophy and has an acuity of less than 20/200. Vision is an integral part of childhood, essential to social development, physical development, and reading and language skills. To navigate challenges presented by Brandon’s low vision, our family learned that being resourceful and creative, networking with both professionals and parents (creating a support network), developing self-advocacy skills, and keeping a positive attitude makes anything possible. 

The ability to drive is a rite of passage for teenagers. Driving provides independence and freedom, an increase in responsibility, and access to recreational, social, and work opportunities. Some individuals with low vision are able to drive but unfortunately, or fortunately, due to Brandon’s visual acuity we knew he would not be able to, even with bioptic lenses being available.”  

Read More

Children’s Vision Equity Alliance Partners with to Promote Healthy Vision and 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 live the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Eastern. Archived interviews can be found on’s YouTube channel.

Check out the recent interviews on children’s vision and other important vision topics:

Childhood Traumatic Brain Injuries: What Every Parent Needs to Know with Ore-Ofe Adesina, MD and Ellen Mitchell, MD

Myopia in Children with Afua Asare, OD, PhD and Terri Young, MD, MBA

My Child Can't See! Why & What Can I Do? with Basil Williams, MD and Eniolami Dosunmu, MD

Diabetes – No Age is Spared with Jessica Randolph, MD and Christel Wekon-Kemeni, MD

Glaucoma- The Silent Thief of Vision for Both Children and Adults with Daniel Laroche, MD and Carles Morgan, MD 

Medicaid Funding for School Health Services: New Funding Available

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced $50 million in grants for states to connect millions more children to critical health care services, particularly for mental health, at school. The grants will provide 20 states up to $2.5 million each in funding that can help states implement, enhance, and expand the use of school-based health services through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These grants will help states better meet the needs of children and youth.

CMS anticipates a total of 20 grant awards, with a minimum of 10 awards to states that have yet to cover school-based health services for all children covered by Medicaid or CHIP. Funding remains a critical need in these states as they work to build additional partnerships and coordination between state Medicaid and education agencies to improve the quality and delivery of care. Additionally, up to 10 grants are intended for states that have taken initial steps to expand school-based health services, with the hope that these grants will enhance or refine their existing programs.

Currently, 16 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia — cover school-based health services provided to Medicaid- or CHIP-covered children beyond those with special education needs reflected in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).

Secretaries Becerra and Cardona issued two letters to states (available here and here), as well as a comprehensive toolkit to governors, encouraging them to optimize federal resources, especially through Medicaid and CHIP, to expand school-based health services. Last year, CMS released a comprehensive claiming guide for school-based health services to make it easier for schools to provide and receive payment for health care services delivered to millions of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP and also launched a school-based health services Technical Assistance Center in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. 

For Budding Young Scientists: “Eye on the Future” Teen Video Contest from the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute created the Eye on the Future Teen Video Contest to hear from the next generation of scientists about why science is so important, and to encourage high school students from all backgrounds to learn more about science. There are 3 video contest categories for video submissions. For each category, the first-place winner will receive $2,000 cash and a trip to the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland, for a day of science, networking, and fun. Deadline for submission is April 14, 2024. Learn more here

Taking Care of Your Eyes: The Magic of Turning 40

Turning 40 is a key point in one’s health, so it is recommended to get a baseline eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist at this time, and regular eye care thereafter (your eye doctor will tell you how often you should return for routine visits). Age 40 is when indicators of reduced vision and/or poor eye health begin to become more prominent.

One common eye problem often developed in one’s 40s, presbyopia, is a decreased elasticity of the lens due to advancing age, which moves the near point of vision farther from the eye, making it difficult to focus on near objects (farsightedness). This advice does not aim to replace recommendations for earlier eye care to treat previously existing disease or injury, or for vision examinations for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Those individuals who show any symptoms of eye disease, including common risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of eye disease are encouraged to consult with an eye care provider as early as possible to determine how frequently they should be examined.

Common Adult Eye Diseases That Often Begin to Impact the American Public at age 40:


Eye Health and Safety Videos

We partnered with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin to create a new video about common vision problems in children that you can share with families, use for staff development, and post to your social media channels. 

Common Vision Problems in Children - YouTube
Watch the Video

These are just a few of the videos available on the Prevent Blindness YouTube Channel:

Vision Development Milestones


Five Ways to Help Prevent Vision Loss from Juvenile Diabetes

Guidance on Assistive Technology

The U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Office of Educational Technology and the Office of Special Education Programs released a comprehensive guidance package designed to increase understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA) assistive technology (AT) requirements, dispel common misconceptions regarding AT, and provide examples of the use of AT devices and services for children with disabilities. The package also highlights the different AT requirements under Part C and Part B of IDEA.

This package includes two parts: 

Learn more by visiting the ED’s AT and IDEA resource page

You can also learn about the release of the National Educational Technology Plan, which provides actionable recommendations to address digital use, design, and access divides in education.

You can also find low vision resources at the Prevent Blindness Living Well With Low Vision website.


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