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Parents As Teachers Talk Children's Vision with Drs. Thompson & Richmond

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Mitchell County Partnership for Children (MCPC) Director Karen Pahls invited Drs. Thompson and Richmond of The EyeCare Center to meet and train local Parents As Teachers (PAT) on the importance of children’s vision; developmental milestones, skills for vision screenings, and the SEE TO LEARN® program (STL).

Children's Vision Handout

Developmental Milestones


Q: How will this information help Parents As Teachers? 

Karen: “PAT requires that all children in the program receive an annual vision screening.  The Doctors made sure the PAT’s felt more confident and knowledgeable by training on specific skills that result in a more valid and thorough screening. A handout that provides statistics about children’s vision and also the developmental milestones from age birth to five was also provided and will be given to each family. Information about  See To Learn (STL) will also help increase awareness of children’s vision and the need for a Vision and Eye Health Exam by an Optometrist at ages one, three and five-years old. We hope by sharing all of this information, more families will grasp the importance and benefit long-term of proper vision development and take advantage of the free program.”

Q: How would you describe the partnership of MCPC and The EyeCare Center? 

Karen: “MCPC, which helps to fund our local PAT programs along with the local school districts and the state, has always had a lot of support from The EyeCare Center, from the Doctor’s serving on the MCPC Steering Committee to free sunglasses for children and now the free vision screening training and handouts.  Our grant this year has a heavy focus on community wide screening of children birth to five in the areas of vision, hearing, development and social-emotional development.  My hope is that with our continued and always increasing partnership with The EyeCare Center, we will continue to have ongoing communication and share information so that children have access to quality screenings and timely referral and follow-up services.  This will help us meet our goal; every child will enter school ready to learn.”

“Overall, the presentation was excellent.  The education provided and the opportunity to ask the Doctors questions was invaluable and will reach children and families in Mitchell, Jewell, Lincoln and portions of Osborne and Russell counties.  At this time, approximately 121 families are enrolled in the program.”      -Karen Pahls


Q: Why is it important for PAT to have training for home visit screenings?

Dr. Richmond: “Parents as teachers provide a great service to our communities by performing health screenings on infants and young children. Training on children's vision will allow them to provide more thorough screenings and let them know what resources are available if a problem is detected.”

Q: What's the take home message for children's vision?

Dr. Richmond: “All children should have a comprehensive vision and eye health exam by an Optometrist at ages 1, 3 and 5-years old to ensure that vision problems will not hinder or delay learning. Screenings have an important role in detecting vision problems between exams but they are not a substitute for a comprehensive Vision & Eye Health Exam by an Optometrist.”

Q: What do you hope to see as a result of your presentation and training?

Dr. Richmond: “Dr. Thompson and I hope that the PAT’s will be more confident and comfortable performing vision screenings.  We are also confident that more children will be provided with professional exams through the resource information and education provided at the training and in the handouts.”

 “We are greatly appreciative of Karen’s efforts to work toward our common goals for children’s vision.”     -Dr. Richmond

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