In its third year of operation, the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) continues to make a significant impact on the lives of underprivileged children in Chiang Mai through its School Vision Screening Program. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, CMIRC has persistently provided vision screening services to eleven municipal schools in the area, along with the Wat Suan Dok School. This program has identified vision-related issues among the students and offered solutions, including free prescription glasses when needed.
A Comprehensive Approach to Vision Screening
CMIRC's School Vision Screening Program encompasses a comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing vision issues among schoolchildren. Over the past three years, CMIRC has conducted screenings of every third and fifth-grader in the participating schools, focusing on common vision problems such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Additionally, we test students for eye anomalies like strabismus (crossed-eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye).
Collaboration with Local Experts
CMIRC collaborates closely with local opticians to ensure the success of the program. A local optician conducts thorough examinations and writes prescriptions for children needing glasses. This collaboration ensures that children receive the appropriate eyewear to address their vision issues.
CMIRC partners with an ophthalmologist based at Saint Peter Eye Hospital. This partnership ensures that children with more complex eye problems receive necessary medical care.
Impressive Outreach Efforts
CMIRC's dedication to improving children's vision is evident through its impressive outreach efforts. The program screens approximately 800 children each year, extending its services to students in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades, specially referred by teachers. The organization goes the extra mile by providing 125 to 150 prescription glasses annually to poor children without financial burden on the school or the child's family.
Success in the Current School Year
CMIRC's Vision Screening Program is off to a promising start in the current school year. Already, 223 children have been screened at five municipal schools, resulting in 51 prescriptions filled. This early success demonstrates CMIRC's commitment to promptly addressing vision issues among Chiang Mai's youth.
Ongoing Support and Impact
One of the unique aspects of CMIRC's program is its long-term commitment to the well-being of these children. Because the organization revisits the same schools each year, they are able to follow up with students who received glasses in previous years. This continuity allows CMIRC to provide replacements for lost or broken glasses and adjust prescriptions for those who have outgrown their eyewear. Remarkably, feedback from the children indicates that the glasses provided by CMIRC have had a positive impact on their school performance, with 24 out of 25 children reporting improvements.
A Heartwarming Testimony
A testament to the program's success is the enthusiasm shown by the students themselves. Even those who have lost or broken their glasses eagerly seek replacements, highlighting the value of CMIRC's volunteer efforts in the lives of disadvantaged children.
CMIRC's School Vision Screening Program continues to be a beacon of hope for the children of Chiang Mai. By addressing vision issues and providing free prescription glasses, CMIRC along with its dedicated partners, break down barriers to education and create brighter futures for these young students.