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After numerous training sessions at Des Moines University and a practicum portion at Kid’s Company Preschool in Waukee, students enrolled in the Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) “Exploration in Health Sciences and Medicine” class are now certified for three years to vision screen. The certification process covered how to conduct screenings with preschool and school-age children, how the eye works and common eye disorders. Students were officially certified as of February 24th, 2016.

By working with a local organization, Prevent Blindness Iowa, students were trained to provide free vision screening for children in the community. Jeanne Burmeister, the executive director of PBI, explains how the organization “provides financial support for researchers each year in hopes to find the medical breakthroughs that will save sight for those with blinding eye diseases and other conditions.”

Juniors at Waukee, Sarah Dombrosky and Parker Carey shared how the class first attended a three-hour vision screening training course to learn how about the importance of good vision, how to conduct a vision screening, and how to interpret results to determine those children that need to be referred. They then conducted their practicum portion by performing vision screenings with a wall visual acuity chart and a high-tech vision screening camera on about sixty kids ages three to four. Skills such as complex communication and collaboration with the vision screening team were used to make the children and students comfortable with the screening procedure. Even though some children didn’t cooperate as hoped, the APEX students were still successful with the practicum portion of the certification.

Students are planning to vision screen Waukee’s own 5th graders at Walnut Hills, Woodland Hills, and Maple Grove Elementary schools on behalf of PBI. Amy O’Brien, the assistant director of PBI, shares how she “appreciates Waukee’s support helping ensure children have a chance to see the world around them!“ What a great the mutual partnership this is!

More information about Prevent Blindness Iowa can be found on their websitehttp://iowa.preventblindness.org.

Hannah Quimby, APEX Intern