Prevent Blindness North Carolina
4011 WestChase Blvd, Suite 180
Raleigh, NC 27607
Prevent Blindness North Carolina (PBNC), also known as the National Society to Prevent Blindness – North Carolina Affiliate, Inc., was organized in 1967 as a nonprofit health agency. An independent affiliate of Prevent Blindness America (established in 1908), PBNC delivers direct service programs designed to preserve sight through screening, publications, safety, education, information and referral through volunteer efforts. PBNC’s mission is to reach people before blindness strikes.
Prevent Blindness North Carolina is headquartered in Raleigh and is governed by a statewide Board of Directors, comprised of medical specialists, distinguished business people, civic leaders, educators, and parent advocates. As essential members of PBNC, volunteers carry out programs and services at the state and local levels.
North Carolina Statistics
Every 11 minutes another person in our nation loses his or her sight. In North Carolina, the statistics are just as alarming:
- 4,000 North Carolina school children, ages 5-19 suffer eye injuries each year.
- 25,614 preschoolers and 349,518 school age children have visual problems.
- 1 in 20 preschool age children in our state suffers from amblyopia. Amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during a child’s early years. Unless this condition is detected and treated before the child’s sixth birthday, lifelong vision damage is likely to occur.
- More than 87,000 North Carolina adults have glaucoma, yet half do not realize they have this silent disease.
- Last year, North Carolina workers’ compensation bills for eye injuries sustained at the work place totaled over $1,000,000. Services for those already blind cost state tax payers over $30 million dollars annually.
- Prevent Blindness North Carolina urges you to celebrate safely! Fireworks are extremely dangerous. Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2014 Fireworks Annual Report, nearly 35% of injuries occurred in children under 15 years old.
Get the facts about consumer fireworks.
Direct Service Programs
The Prevent Blindness North Carolina Preschool Vision Screening Program utilizes state-of-the-art, photo-refractive technology to detect potential vision problems for over 33,000 NC preschoolers each year. Endorsed by NC Department of Health and Human Services, the program identifies vision problems at an early age, when diagnosis and treatment are most effective. PBNC partners with childcare centers and preschool programs such as Head Start, NC PreK and Title 1 PreK to meet federal and state vision screening requirements and ensure healthy vision for their children. Screenings are provided on-site and at no cost to the centers or parents. Children found to have potential vision problems are referred to an eye doctor for a complete eye exam for a diagnosis and necessary treatment. All eligible referred children in financial need are provided access to free exams and/or glasses through PBNC’s Vision Resource Program.
Vision problems that are not found and treated early can interfere with a child’s ability to develop properly. Children can fall behind in school, show behavior problems in the classroom, lag behind other children in school and reaching developmental milestones, and even have permanent vision loss. PBNC preschool vision screenings detect problems often before either a parent or child notices any symptoms. The main purpose of the screenings is to find problems that can lead to amblyopia which is the leading cause of vision loss in children. Also known as lazy eye, amblyopia is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood. The condition can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye if not detected and treated at an early age. The screenings can detect the following amblyopic risk factors: Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), Strabismus (eye misalignment), Astigmatism (blurred vision) and Anisometropia (unequal refractive power).
If your preschool is interested in participating in the vision screening program, please contact the PBNC office at 919.755.5044 x 105 or complete this form below:
The PBNC Children’s Vision Screening Certification program ensures NC public and charter schools are able to conduct vision screening according to current national guidelines using age-appropriate evidence-based vision screening tools and procedures. The program provides workshops across all 100 NC counties to certify school staff and volunteers in the fundamentals of vision screening techniques, referral, and follow-up. To be eligible for training and certification, individuals must have approval from a school nurse or administrator to provide vision screening as part of the school system’s screening program. Participants will receive a manual, vision screening charts, and sample referral materials. Persons passing performance criteria and a written test receive a certificate which qualifies them to perform vision screening in their representative schools for a period of 2 years.
Screening procedures included in the training are developed and approved by national groups and professional organizations, including the:
- Expert Advisory Committee of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness.
- American Academy of Pediatrics.
- American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- American Association of Certified Orthoptists.
Endorsed by NC Department of Health and Human Services, PBNC’s Children’s Vision Screening Certification program aims to ensure that school vision screenings are conducted in a consistent and uniform manner using evidence based and age-appropriate screening tools. Without training and certification, children and students participate in vision screening with different tools and procedures depending on where they live or which programs and schools they attend. This leads to potential under-referrals and inconsistencies that can drive inequalities in children’s vision, eye care, and eye health across the state.
To schedule a training session, please complete the form below:
An estimated 750,000 (1 in 10) North Carolina adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 280,000 North Carolina residents may have diabetes and not know it. PBNC currently partners with over 50 federally qualified health centers and community health clinics to provide retinal screenings in order to detect diabetic eye diseases and other diseases of aging eyes such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. The program targets low income diabetic and suspected diabetic patients that may not be able to access recommended annual dilated eye exam. PBNC uses state of the art retinal imaging equipment, provides the screenings at no cost to the clinic or the patient, and provides eye doctors to read the screening results. In addition to retinal screenings partner clinics also have access to PBNC’s Vision Resource Program, which offers qualified applicants access to free eye exams and glasses through participating doctor’s offices. PBNC can also provide training on chart-based acuity screening for partner clinics. To help clinical staff assess the patient’s visual acuity and catch possible signs of eye diseases in their patients.
If your clinic is interested in partnering with PBNC to provide retinal screenings for your patients, please email Wendy at [email protected] or fill out the short form below:
Prevent Blindness North Carolina partners with Vision Service Plan (a nationwide insurance company) and local “Donor Docs” to offer free vision care vouchers. Prevent Blindness is also a partner in Luxottica’s OneSight Program, which provides free eyeglasses to voucher recipients from participating LensCrafters,Target Optical, and Pearle Vision Centers. Vouchers are provided to PBNC as in-kind donations. In 2021-2022, PBNC provided access to over $649,000 in free eye care to the citizens of North Carolina.
Do you or your child need glasses?? Free eye exams??
Call Prevent Blindness North Carolina at 919-755-5044 ext 112 to find out the latest voucher programs available to serve your needs.