Students In Need of Eyecare (SINE) Project

While the Michigan Department of Health provides in-school eye screening for all students every other year, that screening is not the same as a full eye exam.  A student may be struggling to see in school even though they have passed an eye screening.  The Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University partnered with the Fremont Lions Club to provide an eye care program for students in the Fremont and Hesperia Public Schools.  The program, Students In Need of Eyecare or SINE, was made possible through a unique partnership with the City of Fremont with their agreeing to act as the fiduciary agent.  This made the program eligible for a grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

With a grant of $22,000 the program was designed to service 60 participants.  Students were referred to the SINE program by a teacher, administrator, support staff or parent/guardian.  Since more students were referred than the program could handle, a selection process based on access to and history of previous eye care and the severity of potential eye problems occurred.  The need was so great that 14 additional students were selected with the university agreeing to absorb the cost of the extra exams.  On December 5, 2019, during regular school hours, 74 students were transported to the Ferris State University for a comprehensive eye exam and a tour of the university.  Parents were encouraged to attend along with their student.

Students received a full eye exam conducted by third and fourth year clinical interns with supervision and validation from pediatric and primary care faculty.  The students were checked for many refractive, binocular vision, tracking and eye health problems.  Students were tested for color blindness.  A dilated exam was performed to assess eye health and to rule out excessive farsightedness.  Students found to be in need of eyeglasses were given prescription glasses.  These services were provided by the university at reduced costs and paid for through the grant.  There was no cost to the family.

The parent/guardians of each of the 74 students were given a report detailing what the clinic found.  Of the students examined, 5 were advised to seek additional evaluation if their symptoms persist, 23 were recommended for further testing and 58 were found to be in need of prescription glasses.  The College of Optometry manufactured the lenses and fit them to the frames chosen by each individual student.  The glasses were delivered and fitted to the students on Friday, January 10, 2020.   It was a day of joy and celebration with excited students seeing the world in a new way.

None of this would have been possible without the involvement of many people: Mayor James Rynberg and Manager Todd Blake of the City of Fremont, grant writers Lions John Korstange, Don Farmer, Pete Slovinski and Steve Adsmond, Dr. Sarah Hinkley, O.D. and the faculty of the Michigan School of Optometry, Mr. Mark Petz and Ms Liz Mansfield of the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the many Fremont Lions that participated in the actual event.

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