As a teacher working in special needs education in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, Mary Benzo has seen the difference eye health care can make in the lives of students.
As part of our school eye health program, we trained Mary and other school staff to do vision screenings using the smartphone app Peek Acuity.
Students are then referred to one of our eye units if they need more testing or need prescription eyeglasses. We also connect patients with one of our local partner hospitals if additional treatment is required. Mary says seeing children thrive is the most rewarding part of her work with students.
“When they were given their glasses, they were very happy because their self-esteem was raised up,” Mary recalls.
“They had the confidence to socialize, because they are able to study and read fine details and see on the blackboard.”
Mary has helped identify students who need eyeglasses, students with cataract or tumors, and those suffering from allergies.
“As an eye screener…when learners come for an eye assessment, if there is an eye issue, I use my smartphone to screen them,” Mary explains.
“I feel very much empowered.”
Mary says the benefits of school screening don’t stop at the end of the school day. She says it’s rewarding to see the impact access to affordable eyecare has on not only students but their families at home as well.
“I have learned that I can talk to their parents, to the children and screen them,” she adds. “I’m proud that I’m able to reach the unreached.”