The Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University’s Students in Need Eyecare program successfully delivered complimentary eye examinations and eyeglasses to children from Mesick Consolidated Schools in late September.
Forty seven children were examined by referral from teachers, staff or parents. Of the 47 examined, 18 had no vision insurance, MCO was not participating providers or the students were not eligible for either an examination or glasses. A total of 37 children, 79 percent of those examined, required either a new pair of glasses or a first pair of glasses. Forty five of the children had diagnosed refractive error, which causes blurred vision. Seventeen of the children had diagnosed problems with binocular vision, focusing, eye tracking or a combination, and 23 had a medical eye diagnosis.
Dr. Sarah Hinkley, an associate professor from MCO and its chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services, noted that 100 percent of the children were cooperative and excited to be a part of this program.
“We helped so many children, some of them in a very profound way,” Hinkley said. “This program could not exist without generous supporters like the Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State University and the Mesick Lions Club.”
Funding for SINE was subsidized through an Academic Service Learning grant, from the university, in the amount of $500 and $880 from the Mesick Lions Club. In addition to the eye examinations and glasses for the uninsured or ineligible children, the grant helped offset closing the entire University Eye Center to conduct the program.
While on campus, the Mesick students had lunch and visited the Card Wildlife Museum:https://ferris.edu/card/.
Hinkley, an alumna of the Mesick school district where her dad is still a sixth-grade teacher, was contacted to see if it was possible to initiate a program to help students in need of eyecare. She also is hopeful that, in addition to the eyecare and educational value of the SINE program, the visit to Ferris could open the eyes of the young students to higher-education opportunities.
Mesick is located about 62 miles north of Big Rapids in Wexford County.