Elijah’s smile says it all—he is a happy-go-lucky 4-year-old who loves Spiderman, the color orange, and all types of animals—especially sea creatures! Elijah’s vision health journey began when he kept telling his mom, “There is something in my eye—it doesn’t feel right.” Elijah’s mom was understandably worried and checked his eye over and over but she could never see or find anything in his eye that would explain what Elijah was feeling.
Everything started to make sense when Elijah brought home a Prevent Blindness Wisconsin vision screening referral note from school in March 2023. He did not pass the vision screening provided by his elementary school. Elijah’s mom, Shemeika, began the process of finding an eye doctor who would accept his BadgerCare (Medicaid) vision benefits so he could have a complete eye exam.
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin staff provided support and guidance throughout the process as Shemeika used all of the resources available to her and followed all of the right steps to find Elijah an eye doctor. Due to Elijah’s age, it was more difficult for their family to find an eye doctor for him as some eye doctors are not comfortable providing eye exams to children under the age of 5.
Shemeika remained persistent and was able to get Elijah in for an eye exam appointment, after a referral from his pediatrician, at Children’s Wisconsin. “When we were at his eye doctor appointment, Elijah was so confident with his right eye, however, when they tested his left eye, he got very frustrated,” said Shemeika. Elijah was diagnosed with an astigmatism and myopia in both eyes and in his left eye, the eye Elijah said felt like it had something in it, he was diagnosed with amblyopia (lazy eye). To treat his vision problems, Elijah was prescribed glasses and will have follow-up appointments to monitor his amblyopia and prescribe further treatment if needed.
“I feel better knowing what Elijah’s needs are and what we have to do to help him see the world clearly,” said Shemeika. “It is extremely stressful when you cannot get your child in to the care they need and deserve. Parent resources are essential to help us all through the process, we just want our kids to be safe, but everyone needs to do their part. I would highly recommend a children’s vision screening to anyone with preschool-aged children. They can catch problems you didn’t know were there and even catch concerns before there is permanent changes in their vision—concerns that could have effects and influence their lives moving forward.”