Article Date: 7/1/2012

CooperVision Launches Multifocal Daily Disposable
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THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY

“We Need Our Eyes to See”

Education about a lifetime of comprehensive eye care.

Karla Zadnik, O.D. Ph.D. F.A.A.O., COLUMBUS, OHIO

Imagine you are working in your practice, and a call comes from your child's school asking you to be a guest speaker. You can see patients and deliver excellent eye care all day, but you don't have a school-friendly presentation at your fingertips. Twelve years ago, the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) took steps to create a program that would make you greet that telephone call with enthusiasm. I am the medical director of this program.

Non-dues dollars at work

The Ohio Department of Health hosts the Save Our Sight (SOS) program. Ohioans who renew a driver's or vehicle license are offered the opportunity to contribute to the SOS cause and give about $1 million annually. The OOA's SOS grant outlined the RealEyes program. Its “vision” was to create school-appropriate curriculum, presented by OOA member doctors, that would teach children about the importance of a lifetime of comprehensive eyecare.

Making it fun

The RealEyes curriculum are specific to various grade levels. They all support the OOA doctors' lessons about the anatomy and physiology of the eye, eye safety and common ocular diseases and ways to treat and prevent them.

Sammy Safe Eyes (center) is a cartoon monkey and the protagonist of a children's book. He is geared to preschoolers and kindergarteners, and the OOA member doctors sing and dance along to a recorded song, “We Need Our Eyes to See.” Who needs American Idol or Dancing with the Stars when you have RealEyes?

Rhet and Tina appeals to first and second graders and uses video segments to tell the story of a seven-year-old Muppet-style boy who runs into the milk cart at school and mistakes the principal for his own mother. The OOA optometrist places foggy glasses on each child and talks about what it would feel like to have blurry vision and who the child could go to for help.

RealEyes' Sammy Safe Eyes is geared toward preschoolers and kindergartners.

Vinnie Vision is a video-based curriculum that combines puppets, actors and a “clue pack” based on optical illusions. Throughout the video, a fedorawearing gumshoe asks the OOA member doctor to further explain certain concepts before eventually solving the case.

Middle schoolers are treated to the video “What's Your Eye-Q?” in which a cross between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Alton Brown teaches the same basic concepts with more sophistication and information.

My most recent Eye-Q talk led to a seventh grader telling me he could go a very long time without blinking. Several minutes later, when he had tears running down his face, I took pity on him and passed my hands gently over his lids to force a blink.

Positive outcomes

Fast forward to 2012. Close to 600 OOA member doctors have presented the RealEyes curriculum to almost 600,000 schoolchildren. Annually, three million Ohioans are exposed to the importance of a lifetime of comprehensive eyecare and to optometrists as the primary eyecare doctor. Countless young doctors have enjoyed introducing themselves to a community through the schools, and the OOA is providing a real service to the communities its member doctors serve. OM

DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH JENNIFER KIRBY, SENIOR EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 628-6595, OR JENNIFER.KIRBY@SPRINGER.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: July 2012, page(s): 88