In third or fourth grades, many children begin to need eyeglasses. It’s not unusual for a third of the class to be wearing glasses by the end of the school year.
If you think a student might need glasses, call the nurse to schedule a convenient time, then send the child to the nurse for a vision screening.
If the child fails the vision screening, the nurse will send a note home to the child’s parents indicating that the child should be taken to an eye doctor. In many cases, often the very next day, the child will tell you she has an appointment at the eye doctor. If this doesn’t happen, remind for a day or two, then wait a week to see if the child brings it up again. If not, go back to the nurse.
Let the nurse remind parents. If you get the feeling (or know for sure) that affordability is an issue, make sure to tell the nurse. School nurses have a few resources for free eyeglasses, but quantities are limited. You can tip the balance in your student’s favor by advocating and staying in contact with the nurse. Remember not to promise anything to the student, and don’t tell the student about your efforts to secure free glasses. You might not succeed.
A heartbreaking scenario is when a child has glasses that are clearly many years old and inadequate for the child’s current vision needs. Sometimes the tip-off is that the glasses are too small for the child’s head. Send this child to the nurse and go through the vision screening procedure. If the parents can’t or won’t get the child new glasses, work with the nurse and social worker. Always, always involve the nurse as the primary case manager.