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Summer 2021 Newsletter from ISPB & Prevent Blindness IL

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Many children are headed back to school in the next few weeks. One of the best ways to help students succeed in the classroom is to make sure they are seeing clearly. Prevent Blindness Illinois and ISPB have declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month to provide the public with helpful information to put children on the path to a lifetime of healthy vision.
This summer newsletter features several children’s eye health resources in anticipation of students returning to school. For additional resources and information on children’s sight, please visit our website.

Children’s Vision Digital Screen Tips

Extended screen time among children has become a concern for many parents, caregivers and educators. The daily time a child spends viewing a digital screen (including a cell phone, tablet, laptop, computer, TV, or gaming screen) can add up quickly.

Prevent Blindness, in coordination with Children’s Vision Massachusetts and School Health, has created a new web resource and free “Children’s Vision Digital Screen Tips” posters, available for download in English and Spanish.

Download the free “Children’s Vision Digital Screen Tips” poster.

“Think About Vision” Guide for Preschool and Elementary Teachers

These free handouts from our partners at Children’s Vision Massachusetts help teachers “think about vision” in the classroom.
Fact sheet for preschool teachers
Fact sheet for elementary teachers

Find these resources in English and Spanish and at Children’s Vision Massachusetts.

New Resources for Children with Disabilities

The New England College of Optometry has developed resources to help children with disabilities read Social Stories by words or pictures to prepare them for their first eye exam, eye patching, or new eyeglasses. The stories are sponsored by the American Optometric Association and Essilor Vision Foundation as part of Healthy Eyes Healthy Vision Initiative.

My First Eye Exam, My First Pair of Glasses, and My Pirate Patch are three social stories in English and Spanish for early and advanced readers. Social Stories include PECS symbols for children who use AAC devices to communicate.

Also visit the Evie the Extraordinary YouTube channel and look for “Evie the Eye Doctor and the Dancing Eyeball.” This is a great resource to share with families of children with Down Syndrome.

Small Steps for Big Vision Toolkit

NCCVEH and the National Head Start Association (NHSA) offer “Small Steps for Big Vision: An Eye Health Information Toolkit for Parents and Caregivers.” This free resource provides parents and caregivers with the information, suggested actions, and assistance they need to be empowered partners in their children’s vision and eye health, and to care for their own vision and eye health.

ISPB Board Member Dr. Chan Receives the 2021 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health 

Prevent Blindness is celebrating another successful Focus on Eye Health National Summit, with more than 1,300 registered attendees from over 60 countries! 

At this year’s Summit in July, Prevent Blindness was honored to recognize ISPB Board member R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago, as the 2021 recipient of the Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health. The award is among the highest honors bestowed by Prevent Blindness and is presented annually to an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, national and/or international level. 

Listen to a recording or download a copy of Dr. Chan’s summit presentation on Global Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Program Development: Opportunities for Innovation, Education, Advocacy, and Collaboration.

You can listen to recordings of all sessions on the Prevent Blindness website. Many of the presentations are also available for download.

Congratulations to the 2021 ISPB Research Grant Recipients

ISPB annually awards grants to support research in eye and vision health, with priority granted to areas of inquiry with direct clinical relevance. This year 27 individuals have been awarded grant funding across seven academic and research institutions. Visit the ISPB website to learn more about our grant recipients and their projects.

A Special “Shout-Out” to This Year’s Named Award Recipients

James A. McKechnie, Jr. Award

This year’s awardee is Anara Serikbaeva of the University of Illinois at Chicago with her project “Hyperglycemia-Induced Mitochondria Adaptation.” In memory of former ISPB Executive Director, James A. McKechnie, this award is given to a Ph.D. candidate or fellow with the highest quality grant proposal based on the relevance of the research, clarity of thesis and quality of writing.

Helen and Wesley E. Bass, Jr. AMD Award

In memory of former ISPB Director Wesley E. Bass, Jr. and his wife Helen, this award is given to the principal investigator with the highest quality AMD grant proposal based on the relevance of the research, clarity of thesis and quality of writing. The 2021 co-awardees are two researchers at the University of Chicago, Jason Xiao and Jason Zhang, with projects, “Effect of High-Fat Diet on the Retinal Transcriptome Independent of the Gut Microbiome” and “Delineating the Role of the Microbiome-RPE/Choroid Axis in Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” respectively.

Donna J. Dreiske Award

This year’s co-awardees are Dion Kevin and Robert Hyde, MD at the University of Illinois at Chicago for their project “Multi-wavelength dark adapted perimetry in patients with rod and cone-pathway dysfunction.” This award is in honor of former ISPB Executive Director, Donna J. Dreiske. It is presented yearly to a medical student or resident with the highest standard in a grant proposal based on relevance of research, clarity of thesis and quality of writing. 

On the Road Again…
Community Outreach in Southern Illinois

PBIL and ISPB are thrilled to have Nadine Miller, an undergraduate student at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, join our outreach team this summer. Nadine is majoring in philosophy, with a focus on ethics and is completing her externship with PBIL.

Nadine is passionate about access to health care. She has been collaborating with activity coordinators at senior homes, early childhood center directors, faith-based teams, and optometrists in the Edwardsville area, including ISPB low vision grant partners, to help connect individuals to eye care.

Summer 2021 Newsletter from ISPB & Prevent Blindness IL

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