In honor of Georgia Pre-K Week, we’re pleased to share with you the story of a girl named Myers and how a vision screening provided by Prevent Blindness Georgia helped save vision in one of her eyes.
Last spring, Rollin McLennan pulled a letter from her four-year-old’s book bag which has changed her daughter’s life. “I received a letter telling me that Myers had failed her vision screening at school. I almost didn’t read it, as I expected her vision to be normal,” Rollin said. A few months before, Myers had passed her vision screening at the pediatrician’s office without a problem. But the certified vision screener from Prevent Blindness Georgia, Laurie Irby, found that one of Myers’ eyes was 20/30 while the other was 20/50.
Rollin rationalized the discrepancy. “I knew that the rest of our family didn’t have glasses and I thought that it was either a mistake or Myers was just being obstinate that day. She’s my caboose and has a mind of her own,” Rollin said. After Laurie called to follow up, Rollin took Myers back to her pediatrician’s office. The nurse said that they don’t expect children to have 20/20 vision.
Rollin began to notice that Myers was struggling with differentiating letters. She pulled a vision chart up on her computer, placed Myers on her lap, and covered one eye. “When I covered her left eye, she did well, but when I covered her right eye, she started pulling my hand away and told me she couldn’t see the letters. My pediatrician then referred me to a pediatric ophthalmologist.”
“My daughter was such a trooper,” Rollin said. At four-years-old, she had her eyes dilated, was sitting in a great big chair, and dealing with all that equipment. She was awesome,” Rollin recalled. “Sometimes we don’t realize how resilient our children are.”
The pediatric ophthalmologist reported that Myers was far-sighted and that her right eye was doing everything for the left eye. He noted that if the problem went untreated, she could lose all vision in her weaker eye and that the vision loss could not be reversed.
“Myers is now pushing 20/20 with her glasses on,” Rollin said. “She’s been a rock star about wearing glasses and has no apprehension… we didn’t want to make a big deal about it. We explained that it was like exercise for her eyes and would make them stronger. She has them on unless she’s swimming or sleeping – that’s why she’s responded so well,” Rollin said.
Thinking back about the ordeal, Rollin said, “There’s a huge denial problem as a parent when someone calls you and tells you that your child is not perfect. Getting Myers the help she needs prior to starting kindergarten and reading lessons and possibly before suffering permanent damage is awesome. I’m so thankful for Prevent Blindness Georgia and that Myers has responded so well to treatment.”
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