DES MOINES, Iowa – “Prevent Blindness Iowa” is petitioning to bring state funding back to the nonprofit organization.
Last year, Iowa legislators approved $100,000 in funding with bipartisan support, but the money was later cut by the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Prevent Blindness Iowa Assistant Director Amy O’Brien said the organization focuses on training school nurses and volunteers.
“The main part that this funding has assisted us with is vision screening training with school nurses and public health departments across the state,” O’Brien said.
Michael Trettin is a father of two, and said he first heard about the organization when his oldest son came home from preschool.
“We got a note home from the screenings that day, and it told us that our son may have had some vision problems and that we should really think about going to see a optometrist and get his eyes check out,” Trettin said.
Trettin said the school nurse’s note led them to getting glasses for his son Ethan.
“I wouldn’t really be able to do a lot of things I can do now without them,” Ethan Trettin said.
“Prevent Blindness Iowa” said children with uncorrected vision are three times more likely to fail a grade.
Ashworth Vision Clinic Optometrist Barbara Scheetz said there are different tests done to see where someone’s vision is at.
“We all know about taking care of our teeth, why not our eyes. Eighty percent of learning is through our vision,” Scheetz said.
O’Brien said the petition is meant to get lawmakers attention to bring back funding.
The budget still is not set for the upcoming year.
“Prevent Blindness Iowa” said one in four school age children have significant vision problems that can affect learning.