FY-EYE: March 2021



FY-Eye: March 2021

Adult Vision Health Programming

Adult Pic 1 - resizedWhile 2020 had its challenges, the staff at Prevent Blindness Wisconsin harnessed their efforts and worked hard to expand the Adult Vision Health Program (AVHP). While in-person screenings ceased for most programs, the Adult Vision Health Program was able to alter procedures and offer completely virtual options.

These options include over-the-phone vision screenings, vision care consultation and navigation, and public education on preventive vision care. To complete the cycle of preventive vision services, PBW dug deep into adult follow-up care and curated resources for vision coverage options. 

To increase the Adult Vision Health Program’s sustainability, PBW strives to educate partners, volunteers, and clients on how to independently make regular eye doctor appointments and navigate the system with confidence. 

Let’s See the Numbers

Adult Pic 2Through efforts to expand the adult program, PBW and dedicated partners and volunteers have assisted over 350 adults to further vision care from direct PBW programming (vision screenings and public education) in the 2020-2021 fiscal year alone.

Additionally, the current follow-up care rate for PBW and partners through our Adult Vision Health Programs is approximately 46% – which is above national averages and an increase from the previous fiscal year. 

We take great pride in this program’s expansion. Over the past fiscal year, PBW staff, partners, and volunteers placed over 450 phone calls to referred adults in a concerted effort to help them understand their next steps for vision care. 

An Adult Vision Health Journey to Success 

Shelly Pic 1One specific adult client, Shelly Cameron, received one of those 450 calls. Continue reading to hear Shelly’s journey in receiving proper vision care.

Last March, Shelly was diagnosed with keratoconus, a condition that affects the cornea of the eye. Clinics told her multiple times that, because her insurance under Medicaid did not cover this medical condition, they could not see and treat her. 

At a loss about treating her diagnosed condition, Shelly and her mom called PBW in June of 2020. The PBW team and her HMO advocate helped Shelly better understand her coverage options under Medicaid and found that this condition was, in fact, a covered benefit for her. What would have been a $1,500 out-of-pocket cost for the client turned into a covered service at no cost.   

After four months of PBW staff working with Medicaid and eye doctor clinics throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area, Shelly Cameron was finally able to make an appointment to get fitted for scleral contact lenses through Medicaid.

Shelly Pic 2 -resizedShelly had this to say over the phone, “I just kept hearing ‘no.’ I get frustrated easily, and I was really close to just wanting to sit down and let it all go down the drain. But I had to tell myself to keep going with you guys. You were there for me. I didn’t know how to get from point A to point B, and you helped me. I wouldn’t have been able to make this journey on my own. My eyes have worsened, and I am just excited to be able to see again. Things are going to start looking up for me now. There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow for me.”  

Shelly has faced many obstacles throughout her life, but because she and her mom trusted PBW throughout this process, we were able to help them overcome this barrier. Sarah Cameron, Shelly’s mom, shared, “Never in all my life have I seen someone and an organization work so hard for the well-being of my daughter. I’ve told so many people the impact you have had on my daughter’s life. Never in my life has she been treated this well regarding her care. I thank God for you and this agency.”

With your help, we can ensure more deserving adults receive the help and care they need to see this world clearly. To share a gift of vision by supporting PBW’s Adult Vision Health Programs, please click here.  

Additional Adult Vision Health Program Updates


NACDD PicIn November of 2019, PBW received a second round of funding from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to expand the Adult Vision Health Program (AVHP) in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Jefferson County. From this round of funding, PBW and program partners vision screened 242 adults and referred 218 to further care. From those referred, 96 clients received an eye exam and discovered that they needed eyeglasses. 

We are excited to announce that NACDD has awarded an additional $60,000 to PBW to expand current adult programming with the City of Milwaukee Health Department and within ProHealth Care, primarily in their Hispanic Health Resource Center in 2021. 

We are very excited to expand our work with current program partners and deepen partner relations to move more at-risk adults to further vision care.  

We want to thank NACDD, as well as our program partners, for their continued support. This opportunity transcends what we ever imagined and has created the foundation for our follow-up and continuum to care programs.

Project Homeless Connect

PBW had the incredible opportunity to participate virtually with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Project Homeless Connect initiative in October of 2020. PBW conducted virtual vision screenings and educated clients and guests at the following four shelters in Milwaukee and Waukesha County: the Guest House of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Rescue Mission (Joy House), the Cathedral Center, and the Woman’s Center of Waukesha County. Of the adults screened, over half scheduled vision care appointments in November. 

PBW will continue program efforts with these four incredible partnership sites by training staff on how to refer adults and children in their care and how to navigate the vision care system to assist them in understanding and making vision care appointments.  

HealthCare Network 

We are excited to announce a blossoming relationship with the HealthCare Network in Racine! As a free clinic, the HealthCare Network has served as a fantastic partner site to offer preventive adult vision health services and assistance to further vision care.

Serving over 2,000 clients annually and offering prevention-based primary and secondary care education to over 1,000 clients on an annual basis, the HealthCare Network shows promise for growing and expanding our Adult Vision Health Programs in a new county.

HealthCare Network Client

All clientele served at the HealthCare Network are uninsured. Additionally, many speak a primary language outside English and suffer from chronic conditions, such as diabetes. These circumstances make this partner site a fantastic growth area for addressing and aiding at-risk adults with vision concerns. So far, nine adults are in the process of receiving a much-needed eye exam and pair of glasses. Thank you, HealthCare Network; we are excited to see where this partnership leads us!

“My vision has improved for reading and driving!” – HealthCare Network client 

University Partnership

A large part of PBW’s AVHP is training and creating vision health advocates in all corners of our state. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed PBW to expand its University Outreach Program by reaching out to students studying healthcare, social services, and education. PBW trains, certifies, and enables students to become vision health advocates for all ages even before earning their undergraduate degree! 

Adult Pic 3This university partnership has the potential to train entire classes of university majors to become Certified Children and Adult Vision Screeners. Because vision is typically not a highly emphasized area of focus in curriculum, PBW’s University Outreach Program is one of the only avenues for these students to become aware of vision health and the importance of lifetime prevention. 

This past fiscal year, PBW trained and certified 330 university students as Adult Vision Screeners and Vision Health Advocates. The University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh’s Nursing Program is one partnership that came to fruition through collaboration and community screenings. These certified nursing students put their adult vision screening skills to work by offering community vision screenings to Appleton’s COTS Inc. Shelters, the Ryan Community Center, and food pantries throughout the Fox Valley.

One client that was vision screened through this process was diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration and is now seeking on-going medical care for their condition. PBW couldn’t do this work without the help of these dedicated students. This university partnership is the start to shaping positive mindsets, attitudes, and actions towards preventive vision care for future public servants and social service professionals.

“Thank you for providing us with this training; it was great!!”

– Jasmine, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Nursing Student 


Voucher Program 

Adult Pic 4 - resizedA person’s movement from vision screening to a referral is one of the most critical pieces of PBW’s Lifespan Vision Health programming; however, once referred, both children and adults can face additional hurdles when seeking affordable vision care.

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s Vision Care Voucher Program addresses this problem and has opened many doors for Wisconsinites to see clearly, no matter their current coverage and financial situation. PBW’s Vision Care Voucher Program covers an eye exam and/or a pair of glasses for eligible children and adults who do not have any vision coverage and do not have the means to afford these vision care services independently. 

This past fiscal year, 206 clients used PBW’s Vision Care Voucher Program to gain access to an eye exam and/or a pair of glasses to help them see this world more clearly. This program has changed hundreds of lives and is in the process of reaching hundreds more as it grows. To show the impact this program has had on the lives of so many Wisconsin families, we’d like to share just a few highlights with you: 

“This program was able to provide me with a new pair of glasses. I’ve been out of work and do not have the means to pay for them. My new glasses have helped me with my own personal appearance, and I’m now able to see small words! I can see a lot more clearly now.”
 -Major, VSP Voucher Program Recipient

“I have used this voucher care program for years—if I didn’t have this program to turn to, vision care might have been unattainable for me. As I age, I now realize regular eye exams and correct glasses prescriptions take on greater importance for me. Without this help, I would likely have a diminished ability to see clearly.”
-Doug, VSP Voucher Program Recipient

This program [NACDD] has really helped me and my husband a lot. I really liked how it was run from the vision screening/questionnaire and application process to help finding an eye doctor and making an appointment. Last week both myself and my husband received a new pair of glasses and now I see perfectly. This has helped me so much and I didn’t know how badly I needed them. My eyes used to tear all day long and now they don’t. My life really is better. Before it was difficult for me to read, use my cell phone, watch TV and now I can do all of that without a second thought. My life has really improved very much. Thank you!” 
– Ana Berta Lopez JacintoVSP Voucher Program Recipient

“I was very nervous in the beginning. With my situation and circumstances, I knew I would never be able to seek out care on my own. You went step-by-step through the process with me and were willing to be there for me. I never would have been able to do this without your help. I’d just keep going without glasses and keep squinting and not being able to see. For myself, I cannot function through the health care system without help. I can’t wait to walk around and show everyone my new lenses. You helped me—thank you.” 
Rusty, PBW Client 

To learn more about the Voucher Program, please click here

Wisconsin Vision Health Coalition

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin hosted the preliminary meeting of the Wisconsin Vision Health Coalition. This group aims to improve vision health for all Wisconsinites by increased access to preventative health services, vision care, and adaptive technologies.

This multi-discipline team will meet bi-annually to discuss the state of vision health in Wisconsin, the barriers to care, and to assess gaps in the vision health system while putting forth suggestions on how to overcome them. Over 20 members attended the meeting to discuss collective ways to improve vision health in Wisconsin. For more information or to join the Coalition, please contact Shelby at [email protected].  

Wisconsin Lions Foundation Vision Screening Chairs Meeting 

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation Vision Screening Chairs at a quarterly meeting. Longtime partners of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Lions have helped to ensure children in their local communities receive vision screenings.

With COVID-19 limiting the ability to provide vision screenings, local Lions Clubs will share educational materials within their communities on PBW’s behalf. These materials will help parents identify the ABC’s (Appearance, Behavior, and Complaints) of possible vision problems and help families learn to navigate the vision care system to access an eye doctor.   

Keep an Eye Out for These Dates & Events

Swing for Sight Golf Event 

The Prevent Blindness Wisconsin 26th Annual Swing for Sight Golf Event will be on Monday, June 7, 2021 at the Ozaukee Country Club! If you have any questions about the event or sponsorship information, please contact Tami at [email protected] or 414-765-0505 ext. 101. 

 Intern Picture

Our Mission: Founded in 1958, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin improves the lives of children, adultsand families through early detection of eye conditions to prevent blindness and preserve sight. On-going vision screening activities and state-wide public health education lead to a lifetime of healthy vision.

Our Vision: Our vision is for each Wisconsin resident to have healthy vision at every stage of life. 

 PB_Logo_WI_RGB [email protected]