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Skaggs Foundation donates vision screeners to school districts throughout Stone and Taney counties

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 3:24 PM CDT
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HOLLISTER, Mo. (KY3) -School districts throughout Stone and Taney County are equipped with some of the newest technology to quickly identify student vision issues.

The Skaggs Foundation donated 14 vision screeners to local school districts.

A Hollister School District nurse brought the idea to Skaggs Foundation after learning how the screeners could impact the accuracy and the time it takes to test students vision. Nurse Mary Blackwood says screening students originally took hours, but with the new vision screener equipment, they can test an entire classroom of kids in minutes.

“Traditionally when we screen students it’s time consuming, they have to stand 25 away, they have to go through an eye chart, students get distracted easily, there’s other noise going around when were doing a mass screening,” Mary Blackwood said.

Blackwood said the new screener takes a measurement of students eyes using an infrared camera, giving either a pass or fail result in seconds.

”We’re not diagnosing again this is just a screening tool we can then present to their parents yes, we need to get a further examination of there eyes,” Blackwood said.

The screener also tests for six different anomalies.

”For near, far sighted, astigmatism, if the pupils aren’t the same size if there’s a cloudiness of the eye it’ll tell us it can not read it so that would be a fail and that just means we need to refer them to get their eyes checked by a specialist,” Blackwood said.

Students said they even like how quick and easy it is to get their vision checked.

She says without the help from the Skaggs foundation many schools couldn’t afford to purchase the equipment.

”About $6,000 to purchase it and we were awarded $5,000 from Skaggs Foundation and our district was able to cover the rest of that,” Blackwood said.

Mindy Honey with Skaggs foundation said after learning what the new equipment could do for the kids she was on board.

”Whether it’s kids that are non verbal that might not be able to to tell the nurse what they’re seeing on it whether it’s a child that the vision eye chart might not work for them,” Mindy Honey said.

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