BRANSON, Mo. – School districts throughout Stone and Taney counties are now equipped with some of the latest technology to quickly and confidently identify student vision issues. During a special event today, Skaggs Foundation distributed 14 Plusoptix Vision Screeners to local school districts.
Nurses from different school districts were trained on how to use the new technology earlier today. The school districts represented were Branson, Hollister, Reeds Spring, Taneyville, Kirbyville, Blue Eye, Forsyth, Galena, Crane, Mark Twain, and Bradleyville.
Overall, the Skaggs Foundation has donated fifteen Plusoptix Vision Screeners to local school districts totaling $83,000. Mindy Honey works community relations for the Skaggs Foundation. She says this project started when the Hollister school nurse submitted for a grant for a vision screener to help her students.
“It got me really excited about it because I saw how it made her job easier, and I saw how it could help students,” said Honey. “There are those kids that are non-verbal. I mean it detects vision issues in children as young as five months. I mean you’re not going to be able to have a child young be able to read an eye chart to you and to tell you that they’re not seeing. We’ve heard over and over stories of kids that just didn’t know that they were not seeing properly. Well, this just takes that guess work out of it. It takes that human error out.”
Pam Ruhoff is the area representative for Plusoptix and traveled down from Minnesota to train local school nurses how to use the new technology at the Branson Public Schools. Ruhoff said it’s easy to learn how to use Mr. Smiley.
“Mr. Smiley is awesome,” said Ruhoff. “He’s got this cute, little face that the kids will look at. The camera is behind smilie’s nose. 54 LED lights that go out into the back of the eye, come back and get that information onto your screener.”
In less than one second with the child about three feet away, the school nurse will be able to conduct a fully contact-less screening of children as young as 5 months old screening for:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Anisometropia (unequal refractive power)
- Gaze Symmetry or Strabismus (misalignment of eyes)
- Anisocoria (pupil size differentiation)
- Astigmatism (blurry vision caused by the irregular shape of the cornea)