Vision Therapy Provided with CDBG funds

Vision therapy service has been added to the services provided at the new Pomona Vision and Hearing Clinic. This new service is possible because of a grant from the City of Pomona California 's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG grant also provides eyeglasses for low-income children who need them. Other partners in this included the Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO), the Pomona School District and the local Lions Club. About 4,000 students are served by the facility on an annual basis.

"Vision therapy is an effective treatment," said Beverly Spencer with SCCO. "Approximately twenty percent of the children struggle with learning to read, write or do mathematics. Often these problems are because the child cannot see or visually process information. Even a child with 20/20 vision can have a problem. Eight-year-old Brooke saw letters move around on the page. Words would disappear and print would go in and out of focus. Instead of feeling stupid, children, like Brooke, can be helped through vision therapy to become successful students."

Another example is Dr. Donald Studt, who was failing all his classes in elementary school. His father, an optometrist, suspected a vision problem even though his son had 20/20 vision. Therefore, he developed eye exercises for his son. Now his son has his own practice in Hollywood, devoted to optometry. The son has made further advancements. Because of these contributions to this field, the vision therapy center at the Southern California College of Optometry is named in his honor.

Undetected, these vision problems affect a child 's concentration and visual attention. Their desire to learn is affected. It can result in disruptive behavior. Current research indicates that seven out of ten juvenile delinquents have vision problems. Part of the problem is that children are not playing games that encourage good visions skills. Instead these games have been replaced with watching television, video and computer screens. If not corrected, these vision-related learning problems persist into adulthood.

Health officials with the School District initiated the program based on the premise that healthy children learn better. They convinced the Pomona Host Lions Club to help build a vision, hearing and health clinic. The construction project was made possible by a $57,000 community fund-raising drive. They received a $47,500 matching grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation. The local Lions Club members were then able to build the 24' x 40' ft. modular building to house the clinic. Construction took two years to complete.

The center now serves as a national model for school-based health care facilities. The facility was dedicated in September 2002 and is located at the Marshall Middle School, 921 Arroyo Street.

Beverly Spencer
Director External Clinic Relations
Southern California College of Optometry
(714) 992-7816
Sheila Lyons
Director School Health Services
Pomona Unified School District
(909) 397-4711 ext. 3849


Content Archived: September 11, 2015