During the 2017-2018 academic year, The Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University provided comprehensive vision care services to nearly 5,000 underprivileged students in Philadelphia and the surrounding area through its School Vision Programs.
Every year, TEI’s vision care team works collaboratively with Philadelphia public school nurses to assist in providing state-mandated vision screenings for students. This year more than 4,300 students were given screenings and approximately 29 percent failed.
The students who did not pass their screening were transported to one of TEI’s locations
in Oak Lane, Chestnut Hill or East Falls for a comprehensive eye exam. Following the exam, each student that required a prescription was given two pairs of glasses – one for home and one for school. This year 262 exams were conducted and 400 pairs of glasses were dispensed for Philadelphia students.
Dr. Brandy Scombordi, pediatric optometrist at TEI, recently transitioned into the role of Coordinator for the School Vision Programs.
“A child cannot be successful in school without good vision,” said Dr. Scombordi. “Vision problems create a disadvantage but with our program, we can remove that barrier and help students on their path to success.”
In Montgomery County, TEI collaborated with the Norristown Area School District (NASD) to provide eye care through a school-based vision clinic. On a rotating basis, portable exam equipment was transported directly to each school. Using this model, TEI’s vision care team provided 168 comprehensive eye exams and 306 pairs of glasses on-site for NASD students.
In Montgomery County, TEI provided eye care to children in Cheltenham, Jenkintown and Abington school districts with the University’s Mobile Vision Care Unit. The “Big Red Bus,” as it is affectionately nicknamed, includes all the essential equipment needed to complete a comprehensive vision exam. Using the mobile unit, 139 eye exams were performed and 241 pairs of glasses were dispensed to children in these three districts.
The “Big Red Bus” also made its way to Delaware County, where TEI’s team conducted eye exams for children in the William Penn and Chester-Upland school districts. In both districts combined, 184 eye exams were performed and 224 pairs of glasses were dispensed.
Thanks to TEI’s School Vision Programs, a total of more than 1,170 pairs of glasses were dispensed to children in need during this academic year.
“I enjoy doing the exams but the best part is tagging along with the technician and dispensing the glasses,” Dr. Scombordi said. “The first time a student can put on their glasses and see across the room - the smile that follows really stays with you and is a great reminder of why we do what we do.”
The eye care provided through TEI’s School Vision Programs is made possible by a dedicated team of school nurses, optometrists, optometric interns, residents, opticians, optical technicians, administration, facilities staff and patient service representatives.
“So many people play a part in making this program successful and we do it because we know what a difference we are making in a child’s life,” said Dr. Scombordi.
Funding for the program comes from the University’s “Looking Out for Kids”
(LOFK) initiative and charity fundraiser which launched in 2007. This year’s fundraiser will be held Saturday, November 3 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue hotel. Donations can also be made any time of the year online
More Information About "Looking Out for Kids"