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FY-Eye: December 2020

FY-Eye: December 2020

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FY-Eye: December 2020

 

The year 2020 was filled with a lot of uncertainty and fear for many of us; however, for PBW it was filled with new opportunities, places of growth, and team bonding. We would like to thank all of our partners, volunteers, donors, funders and, most importantly the clients we served. You have helped us keep our spirit and mission alive. We are honored and excited to share our year of 2020 in review with you:

 

The Nicholas Family: 20/20 Vision Health Program

 

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin received a generous grant from the Nicholas Family Foundation to support and enhance our Preschool Vision Screening and Volunteer Programs. To honor the Nicholas Family, we are pleased to announce our Preschool Vision Screening Program has been renamed. The Nicholas Family: 20/20 Vision Health Program will focus on attracting and retaining dedicated volunteers, effectively delivering public and professional education, and implementing our preschool vision screening program. 

 

 

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Statistics show 1 in 20 preschool-aged children and 1 in 4 school-aged children has a vision problem. Because 80% of most children’s learning happens visually, children who struggle to see often struggle to learn. Largely due to our partnership with the Nicholas Family Foundation, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin has been able to address the ever-changing times of 2020 by providing extra support and resources to childcare centers. By connecting directly with families, we have expanded our children’s public health education and awareness statewide by addressing the importance of healthy vision at an early age.

 

This expansion has enabled us to launch new virtual campaigns and stay connected to families and staff. We have stressed the impact of vision on children’s learning and answered questions about children’s vision health. This partnership has also enabled us to implement new and unique approaches to connect with our growing network of community volunteers. It is through these volunteers that we reach thousands of children each year and help preserve the gift of sight. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Nicholas Family!  

 

“Your vision screening program is so important. We have been very fortunate to have had your well-equipped and professional volunteers return to our center for over 20 years. They have caught a lot of children who went on to get a pair of glasses. This is such a valuable service!” Amy Harsla, Resource Coordinator – Child Care Center, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison 

 

Auggie Haushalter (Dane County) Case 1 Christian #5

 


Children’s Vision Health Programming

This year, most students across Wisconsin were unable to receive their annual vision screenings. 
Schools switched to remote learning and staff time was focused on keeping kids safe and healthy. But that did not derail Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and the work we do. During this challenging year, we are more grateful than ever to our partners across Wisconsin. They have continued to receive their certified vision screening training remotely, shared the 20-20-20 rule and the ABC’s of Vision Health with families, participated in phone vision screenings, and attended virtual meetings with staff. Our ongoing partnerships have been a true success of 2020!

 


20/20/20 Education:
 Virtual education has increased the importance of PBW sharing the 20-20-20 rule with parents. Children are at risk for developing myopia or near-sightedness when they look solely at objects close to them for a long period of time. The 20-20-20 rule encourages all ages to take a break every 20 minutes from a device and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. To share this message PBW created a comic featuring our mascot, Patch the dog!

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Online Vision Health Resources and Activities for Families:
We also created some free vision-related activities for kids to engage in while at home. These include a crossword puzzle, eye-spy game, and an activity encouraging kids to enjoy some time outdoors. Our intern Pike filmed a fun vision related song for us to share on social media, and we hosted two virtual parent Q&A sessions to help families navigate vision health in this unusual year. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn47GIrql5o

Continued Outreach with Partners: Lastly, through our partners at the Head Start Association, Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses (WASN), we shared information about the ABC’s with families statewide. The ABC’s of vision health alerts parents and caregivers of potential signs of a vision problem in their child. Our How to Make an Eye Doctor Flowsheet was also shared, so families knew their next step in seeking care if they noticed any potential symptoms in their child.

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Adult Vision Health Programming

 Distance Paddle Portrait Mexican Consulate

NACDD Funding to Deepen Adult Programming: In November 2019, PBW was awarded a $63,875 grant through the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to continue the sight-saving work and partnerships of the Adult Vision Health Program (AVHP) in Southeastern Wisconsin. Partners for this grant cycle included the City of Milwaukee’s Public Health Department: Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness Program (MBCCAP) and Waukesha and Jefferson County’s ProHealth Care Hispanic Health Resource Center (HHRC).  

Even in the midst of a pandemic, PBW and NACDD program partners provided clients the opportunity to see clearly. The AVHP vision screened 242 adults and referred 218 on for further care. From this program, 72 adults have received needed vision care and 30 have been approved for a VSP free vision care voucher and are in the process of scheduling an eye exam. To further assist clients, 118 follow-up phone calls were placed to clients to help educate them on the process of making an eye exam appointment. PBW and MBCCAP collectively spent 40 hours conducting follow-up phone calls with our clients! 

Additionally, this funding allowed PBW to form an Adult Vision Health Toolkit: a systematic guide to increase vision health awareness, capacity and care navigation in public health departments. This 43-page toolkit walks partners and potential partners through the process of serving as a vision health advocate for clients in their care and offers health literature resources for clients to better understand and comprehend their specific pathway to vision care.

 

“You have updated us every step of the way. There was never any question or worry about how we were going to continue to serve our clients. You have done a phenomenal job with this. We are very thankful and know our clients are too.” -Jessica K., HHRC RN

 

 Distance PCHHRC 1  MBCCAP Near


Virtual Education and Resources:
PBW staff has truly transitioned to being active and offering virtual sight-saving services. To reach more at-risk adults, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin offered many online workshops for adults and partners to learn more about resources to vision care. PBW offered the 5 Days to Vision Health series, walking viewers through PBW’s 10-question adult vision health risk assessment. Additionally, in collaboration with the month of November’s Diabetes Related Eye Disease Month, a 3-part Diabetes+ the Eyes series was offered on PBW’s social media accounts to engage and increase awareness about the number one cause of vision loss for working-age adults. Combined, these series received over 350 views and we are still counting! Both series, as well as additional educational videos, can be found on Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5DbYtDuVVY64Ipd3s38CyA?view_as=subscriber.

 

 

 Near Mexican Consulate

New Partnerships in the Making– Mexican Consulate: This year presented a wonderful opportunity for our team to explore and form new partnerships. One such partnership is with the Mexican Consulate in downtown Milwaukee where our team was able to vision screen 87 clients at the Consulate in the month of October alone. Many of these new clients are on their way to needed vision care thanks to the VSP Vision Care Voucher Program. For many of these clients, this was their first opportunity to talk about their vision health and approximately 25% of clients screened have never had an eye exam! Thus, our new partnership came at a perfect time and served to remind our team why we do what we do. 


“We want to offer this service to all our mobile clinic sites for Wisconsin’s Mexican Consulate. It’s incredible that they come in for one thing and can walk out with the opportunity in their hand to see this world a little more clearly.” –Mexican Consulate 

 

 

Project Homeless Connect: Virtual Adult Vision Screenings: PBW had the incredible opportunity to participate virtually in United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Project Homeless Connect initiative during the week of October 19th. PBW partnered with 4 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, conducting virtual vision screenings and education with their clients and guests. Of the adults screened, over half have received needed vision care. 

 

Medical College of Wisconsin’s AHW Population and Community Health Studies Fund:

 6 - NACDD Near

We are very excited to announce PBW and Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) submitted an LOI for their Advancing Healthier Wisconsin Population and Community Health Studies Endowment Fund. With an ask of $400,000 over 3 years, PBW and MCW will explore expanding vision health equity in the Southeast Asian (SEA) population in Southeastern WI. Thanks to our incredible partnership with the Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health (MCHH), we were able to begin to scratch the surface of understanding vision health barriers for this minority population. With many SEA’s coming to the U.S. as refugees, many have never even discussed the idea of vision care. This program will allow us to target SEA’s across the lifespan with vision health education, awareness and advocacy to ensure they can access vision care when it is needed the most.


Vision Care Voucher Program

One of the barriers to care that we see when working with clients is that they don’t have vision insurance coverage. Our Vision Care Voucher program has helped 103 Wisconsinites this year to receive much needed vision care. The voucher program helps low-income clients who qualify for the program to receive an eye exam and glasses or glasses only. To learn more about the voucher program and how to apply, please visit https://wisconsin.preventblindness.org/vision-care-voucher-applications/.


 

Success Stories

Success Stories look a little different this year. In the past, we have been lucky enough to hear from many Wisconsinites about how a vision screening impacted their life or their family’s life. Below you will read examples of ways that PBW has been able to turn the challenges of 2020 into successes. The way we do business might have changed, but our dedication to vision health remains the same.


“I’ve used vouchers for several years, without which vision care might have been unattainable for me. As I age, regular eye exams and updated lens prescriptions take on greater importance. Without the above, I might well have had a diminished ability to see clearly.”
– Doug, Voucher Recipient

“I was able to get a new pair of glasses. I’ve been out of work since March. It’s helped me with my personal appearance and helped me see the small words. I can see a lot more clearly now.” – Major, Voucher Recipient

Meet Duby! Duby was vision screened at PCHHRC and utilized Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s VSP Healthy Eye Glasses Only Program. After receiving her new glasses, Duby shared her thoughts on the Adult Vision Health program and the impact on her life: “The whole process was such a fast service–from the screening to when I was able to see again with the glasses I received. The glasses are perfect! How would my life not improve with this program? I can see again! I have so much improvement in my vision. I can see individual snowflakes! What beauty! This returns my life in this sense back to as normal as possible. I am so happy and grateful for all of you.” -Duby 

Meet Shelly! After 4 months of working with Medicaid and eye doctor clinics throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area, one of our clients, Shelly Cameron, was finally able to make an appointment to get fitted for scleral contact lenses through Medicaid. Back in March, Shelly was diagnosed with keratoconus, a condition that affects the cornea of the eye. She was told multiple times by clinics her insurance did not cover this medical condition and that, because she was on Medicaid, they could not see her and treat her. In June, Shelly and her mom were at a crossroads over what to do with her diagnosed condition. They called the PBW team and her HMO advocate helped her understand her coverage options under Medicaid and that this condition was a covered benefit for her. What would have been a $1,500 out-of-pocket cost for the client, is now truly a covered service with no cost.

She has this to say, “I just keep 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 do 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

Meet Maria!
Maria was a client served through our partnership with the Well Woman Program at the Milwaukee Public Health Department. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Maria’s process of receiving a pair of much needed eyeglasses was unfortunately put on hold. Maria was patient and very kind during the process, and, as eye clinics opened up, was able to make an appointment with her VSP Healthy Eyes Voucher to receive her eyeglasses. Maria has this to say, “I can’t thank you enough for your help. I am so grateful. I get to pick up my glasses in a couple weeks and I just can’t wait to see! Many, many thanks.” Maria, we thank you for your kind heart and patience through this all-we are happy you are about to see clearly again, too!

Meet Cassie! Cassie was diagnosed with amblyopia and hyperopia after she did not pass her certified vision screening at her elementary school in the early part of this year.  According to Cassie’s mom, “she loves her new glasses and seems to see much better.”

 Cassie

 

Meet Santiago! 


Santiago received his free certified vision screening while at school. He went to the eye doctor and was diagnosed with a new glasses’ prescription. Santiago’s mom, Ana said, “Thank you for the great program that helps out some kids, including my son.”

 Santiago


Support Prevent Blindness Wisconsin in the New Year!

Check out our Amazon Wish List at, https://a.co/jjAvR7i for much needed program and office supplies. To give the gift of sight this New Year, check out our website at wisconsin.preventblindness.org to donate to our mission and vision and to find ways to give back to your community! 

 

 

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Our Mission:
 Founded in 1958, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin improves the lives of children, adults and 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.

wisconsin.preventblindnss.org [email protected]