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St. Joseph’s Health Investing in “Vision” for Future Generations


Syracuse, NY (May 15, 2017) – St. Joseph’s Health is launching a new pediatric vision screening initiative on May 1, 2017, for the early detection of amblyopic risk factors in children from six months to five years old. The vision screening will be available at the St. Joseph’s Primary Care Main and West campuses. 

A $15,194 grant from the J. Henry & Martha E. Deboer Fund of the Central New York Community Foundation will allow St. Joseph’s to purchase the necessary equipment to perform this specialized pediatric vision screening. Physicians and nurses will also educate parents on the risks of undetected vision loss as well as the need for follow-up eye care. 

“This project will enhance early detection and treatment of vision impairments in young children who receive care through St. Joseph's Primary Care Centers,” said Denise Dann, RN, Director of Hospital Based Primary Care Centers. “The specialized equipment is important because it allows us to detect risk factors in children too young to screen using a traditional eye chart visual acuity test.” 

Often occurring by age seven, Amblyopia – commonly known as “lazy eye” – is caused by conditions that interfere with focus, such as poor eye alignment and near- or far-sightedness. The result is that vision in the affected eye is reduced causing the eye to not be used properly. Because the effects of amblyopia can become permanent if left untreated, it is critical for children to begin eye screenings in infancy. The earlier that amblyopia is identified, the more easily and successfully it can be treated.  

To enhance early detection, a properly trained provider at each of St. Joseph's Primary Care Centers will use a Spot Vision Screener to assess children for amblyopic risk factors during their 6 month and annual wellness visits. Unlike traditional screening tools, Spot Vision is a special camera that takes an image of a child’s eyes when they are too young to report problems on their own. If any concerns are noted, patients will be referred for further evaluation and appropriate follow-up care. 

Both of St. Joseph's Primary Care Centers provided more than 10,000 wellness visits for children under the age of six in 2016. “Using the Spot Vision Screener to assess young children will have a major impact in our community by detecting and treating these issues as early as possible,” said Dann. 

For more information, visit www.sjhsyr.org/primary-care.  

About St. Joseph’s Health

St. Joseph’s Health is a non-profit regional health care system based in Syracuse, N.Y., providing services to patients throughout Central New York and northern Pennsylvania. From primary to specialty to home care, to our Magnet-recognized hospital, and in collaboration with our community partners, St. Joseph's Health is advancing the health of the communities we serve through an expanding range of healthcare services to ensure our patients achieve optimum long-term health. Ranked by Consumer Reports among the top 15 heart surgery centers in the country, U.S. News “Best Regional Hospital” and a 15-time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice award, St. Joseph’s is widely recognized for quality, value and delivering the highest patient satisfaction. St. Joseph’s Health is affiliated with Franciscan Companies and St. Joseph’s Physicians and is a part of Trinity Health. 

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