The goal of iCare Initiative University of Alberta (ICIUA) is to improve general health education in Edmonton’s inner city elementary schools, with a special emphasis placed on vision care. We hope to empower the student body to take up this cause and volunteer their efforts towards reducing the disparity between lower income families and proper vision care. Vision health awareness is often an overlooked aspect of elementary education; we hope that by our efforts, eye care may be more effectively addressed in schools and that children who do have visual acuity issues may be screened and have their needs met accordingly.
HOW WE DO IT:
Each month, we perform visual acuity screenings at inner city schools for children in grades 1-3. We refer them to free services so their visual health can be managed by professionals. We collect data from our screenings to conduct research in order to provide evidence for change in policies regarding childhood vision care.
LONG TERM VISION:
We are currently working on bringing all the parties that we hope to work with together. We are arranging to have a joint meeting with representatives from the Edmonton Catholic and Public School boards, the Alberta Association of Optometrists, CNIB, and Lenscrafters/Lions Club to pitch our idea and to discuss means for us all to work together in a coordinated fashion to get our initiative off the ground. We hope to implement as program in Edmonton’s elementary schools whereby mandatory screenings occur on an annual basis. We are very optimistic as our ideas have been met favorably by all parties who have been contacted so far.