BULLETIN

Enhancements for the School Vision Screening Project

The CMIRC SVSP continues to work to incorporate the expertise of Ophthalmologist Tayakorn Kupakanjana, M.D. (Dr. Nickie) of the St. Peter Eye Hospital into our program to serve poor children in the Chiang Mai Municipal Schools. To that end, we organized a meeting with Dr. Nickie (far left in photo at right), our SVSP Optician, Khun One (green shirt), program volunteer Phijitra (back right), Rtn Clarence, now program photographer (pictured far right) and me (SVSP chair) on January 19, 2022. It was an excellent meeting and allowed our on-site optician, Khun One, to better understand the depths of support that Dr. Nickie and his team at St. Peter Eye Hospital are prepared to provide.



As part of our discussion, we learned from Dr. Nickie that there are many eye/vision ailments in children that are not corrected by eyeglasses alone, e.g., amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes). Dr. Nickie is helping us to prepare a training packet to help identify these problems. We also have developed a system for the optician to share his concerns about a child with our ophthalmologist via photographs and videos.

Finally, we are fortunate to have Khun Pomme’s (our swim program partner) daughter, Nong Fern, now a medical student, willing to volunteer her services for the next few months. She has agreed to help us develop a vision training kit (under Dr. Nickie’s supervision) for use by teachers and health officers. This will help school staff identify problems, such as strabismus and amblyopia, that should be referred to our screening program when we are at their schools. It will also allow us to identify problems in the youngest children when correction is still possible. Typically these are children younger than the ones we screen at our SVSP.

So, we are making real progress in our School Vision Screening Project! But, unfortunately, due to the continued resurgence of Covid-19 in Chiang Mai, we face delays in restarting the screenings. Municipal elementary schools are not yet fully open for onsite learning, but we still hope to screen all 3rd and 5th graders at the 11 municipal schools and the Wat Suan Dok School this spring, again in partnership with Optician Khun One at Chom Jun Optic, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Wattana, and, if pediatric ophthalmological surgery is needed, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North’s Eye Service Foundation.

We are tentatively planning School Vision Screening Program (SVSP) volunteer training for February, with screenings in the municipal schools and the Wat Suan Dok School beginning in late February. Because we will probably have only two months to complete our screenings and prescriptions for this academic year, we will need to screen at least two or three schools per week when we get started. We are hoping to train a large contingent of volunteers so there will be trained substitutes for each of the screening stations. We recognize that many volunteers cannot be on call every week. Please contact Project Champion John Schorr if you’d like to volunteer and be trained: schoolvision@cmirotary.org, in English or ไทย .

Once again, we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the generous support of our partners, sponsors and donors, so here is a list of these generous organizations, beginning with the Rotary Club of Spokane 21 whose donation of $2,500 this year will fund about 80% of our program! THANK YOU ROTARY CLUB of SPOKANE 21!

The total program budget for next year is estimated at about $3,000 US dollars, so we are still a little short. If you wish to learn how you can help, please contact Project Champion John Schorr at schoolvision@cmirotary.org or tel.: +66 (0)8 5030 2143, US Skype # 386 490-8100