A Day in the Life: School Vision Screening, April 2024

Last week, I had the opportunity to represent Zenni at a vision screening in Oakland, CA. I’m excited to share a glimpse into this memorable day with you.

The Myopia Control Research Project

This vision screening was held in partnership with Dr. Sarah Singh, a pediatric optometrist at UC Berkeley, and one of my former professors. Dr. Singh has taught us so much about myopia and is currently doing a multi-site study (alongside University of Houston College of Optometry and New England College of Optometry) about myopia in children. The goal of this study is to create ocular growth charts for school aged children. Similar to how we have height and weight growth charts to give us key information about our development as children, these ocular growth charts will be helpful in identifying risk of myopia in children.

A Day in the Life: School Vision Screening, April 2024

Comprehensive Eye Exams

With the help of her team, Dr. Singh began the process of providing comprehensive eye exams to the children who signed up. This included testing distance and near visual acuity, stereo testing (or your ability to see in 3D), and color vision. They then went on to measure refractive error and axial length using advanced technology including an open-field autorefractor and an IOLMaster. Then, the kids were given eye drops that help check their retinas and the health of their eyes. In practice, many of the children are kicking and screaming when they get these drops, but every single one of these kids quietly took the drops like a superhero!

A Day in the Life: School Vision Screening, April 2024

Interacting with Delightful Children

One of the highlights of the day was interacting with the preschoolers, each with their unique personalities and quirks. Some children approached the screening with calm curiosity, while others giggled and ran away playfully, adding an element of spontaneity (…and exercise) to the process. Despite the occasional antics, each child received personalized attention and care as the team worked to gather accurate data for the study. From the shy ones who took some time to warm up to the outgoing ones who absolutely refused to do the testing, it was a joy to be part of such an amazing project in its beginning stages.

A Day in the Life: School Vision Screening, April 2024

Finding the Perfect Pair

As part of the vision screening, each child was fitted with a pair of Zenni frames. For those who require prescription glasses, we carefully selected frames that not only correct their vision to prevent certain eye conditions like amblyopia, but also reflect their individual style and preferences. For those who did not need prescription glasses, the excitement was palpable as they got to choose glasses to be made into non-prescription sunglasses. With their favorite colors in mind, the children made frame selection easy and enthusiastically tried on different styles, eager to find the perfect pair.

A Day in the Life: School Vision Screening, April 2024

A Day of Impactful Work

As the children grew tired and nap time came around, we wrapped up the screening for the day. Being a high myope myself, I can’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment being a part of a project that will hopefully create a valuable tool for tracking axial length and assessing the risk of myopia in young children.

In the end, it wasn’t just about conducting vision screenings; it was about making a positive impact on the lives of these young children and empowering them to see the world with clarity and confidence. As an optometrist who sees many children with myopia each day, there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that the work we do today will help shape a brighter future for generations to come.

All images featured in this blog post have been captured and used with parental consent.

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Catherine Ong

Dr. Catherine Ong, OD, is an optometrist based in the Bay Area, California. She earned her doctorate from UC Berkeley, School of Optometry and currently provides primary and speciality eyecare in a private practice setting. She has a passion for patient education and enjoys reshaping technical concepts into digestable topics for all patients. When she is not seeing patients, you can find her exploring new restaurants, exercising, or trying out new recipes.