Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, outlines one method of tackling vision screening follow-up rate disparities among children in Arkansas.
School districts across the state may be able to partner with their local ophthalmologists or optometrists, said Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, an intern resident physician at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in ophthalmology.
What can be done to increase vision screening follow-up rates among Arkansas children?
To address those disparities and increase follow-up rates, I would focus more on pursuing tactics that improve accessibility to the eye care. I, as a medical student, was volunteering at this free school physical day at the Children's Hospital. And it pretty much was a couple of days through the week where busloads of students from across the Tri-County area would come to the hospital and we volunteered and did their school sports physicals for free. I think we could kind of model something like that, where across the state school districts could partner with their local optometrists or local ophthalmologists and have the busloads of kids that had failed their school vision screenings come to the clinic, get their assessment done. Then they could bring that report back to their parents. I think that would help mitigate some issues such as financial and logistical barriers that parents might face when taking their kids to the doctor. For instance, I know in Arkansas, there are a lot of medically underserved areas. So transporting your child from home to the next eye doctor, maybe 40 or 60 miles away, can be an issue especially, if you have a lot of kids at home that you have to be taken care of as well. So that could be something.