College Park –November 15 — “This is so awesome!” said Stevie. I can read a whole sentence at a time. I’ve never been able to do that before” The fifth grade Mimosa Elementary School student had been just introduced to his new high tech vision aid, a Closed Circuit Television Magnifier (CCTV). The device can magnify objects up to 79 times their normal sizes, a feature which will allow Stevie to see clearly for the first time things he never dreamed possible.
“This is really cool!” For Stevie, who suffers severe vision loss, this state of the art vision aid will change his life. Stevie was one of two children to receive a new CCTV at an event at S.L. Lewis School on November 15. Sylvester, fifth grader at Brookview Elementary also received the equipment. “Wow,” said the youngster as he examined the veins of a leaf through the new magnifier. Sylvester’s Dad said he had known for a long time that his son couldn’t see very well.“He’d hold a book right up to his face and get as close to the TV as possible to see a program.” Jeff Haddox, Sight Savers President/CEO, stated “It is our goal to provide life changing vision aids to under served visually impaired children. Like these students here this morning, many children with severe vision loss can have their vision greatly enhanced by placing high tech vision aids in their homes.”
However, this equipment is costly and it is not covered by insurance. That’s where Sight Savers steps in. Working with the Sight Savers staff, teachers of the visually impaired in the Fulton County School System referred these two students who will greatly benefit by having these vision aids in their homes. Sight Savers staff trained the two fifth graders and their families on how to use the equipment. After training, the children took the equipment home with them to keep. Sight Savers will now provide extensive follow-up services to the children and their families. “We value lasting relationships with the kids we help,” said Haddox, “therefore, we have an extensive follow-up program, checking in with them until the child’s 19th birthday. Our goal is to help these children make the most of their remaining vision, regain their childhood independence, and improve their quality of life.”
Project 20/20 also vision screened over 200 third and fifth graders as part of this program. Every child who failed the screening, as well as nine previous vision screenings in the Fulton County School System, will be contacted and provided follow-up eye care services by Sight Savers Case Managers. The Sight Savers follow-up protocol includes parental notification and education, the coordination of eye exams, prescription eyeglasses, medications and other prescribed treatment, which may even extend to eye surgery, all at no cost to the families. The Katz Foundation and Sight Savers America provided funds for this vision health program.