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How Hall County Schools is helping students with their eyesight
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North Hall Lions Club received a grant from Jackson EMC Community Foundation and decided to put it toward Hall County Schools' Eyes for Education initiative

Sometimes one eye screening is all it takes to change a students’ capacity to succeed.

“Over 80% of what they learn is by seeing,” Mamie Coker, Hall County Schools’ health services coordinator, said. “If they can’t see, they can’t learn.”

North Hall Lions Club has partnered with Hall County Schools’ nurse program to launch Eyes for Education, a vision screening initiative for elementary students.

The Lions Club purchased a Spot vision screening camera for Hall elementary schools through a $7,089 Jackson EMC Community Foundation grant. 

The camera, which detects vision issues, will be used during each of Hall’s Eyes for Education screening days. 

Although the district has been implementing eyesight testing among its schools for a while, Coker said the new piece of equipment has already proved a “game changer,” since they started using it in November.

“It’s just as simple as taking a picture,” she said. “It takes language barriers out of the equation.”

So far, she said the district’s school nurses — with the help of Lions Club volunteers — have conducted eye screenings at eight Hall elementary schools for kindergarten and third graders. The system plans to complete screenings for the two grades in all 20 of the district’s elementary schools. 

Coker said the early stages of the Eyes for Education initiative has revealed surprising information about vision among students. 

“Our emphasis is early detection and prevention,” Coker said. “We’re finding that some schools have 32% of students who were recommended for a follow up eye exam. We were amazed at that moment because the state average on referral is about 8%.”

The school district has also collaborated with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to provide 50 free eye exams and glasses to students referred by school nurses. 

“Screening them is one thing, but helping them with the resources to get glasses is another portion of the initiative,” Coker said. 

For more information about Hall’s Eyes for Education initiative, email Coker at mamie.coker@hallco.org