how are your kid's eyes?

When I got on board with this book drive with VSP, I couldn't believe how much I learned!! I was really shocked to learn that kids should have their first eye exam at 6 months. My hubby and I both have really bad vision, so there's a good chance that our kids will too. Looks like I will be staying on top of their eye health better now! Won't my sweet girl be adorable in glasses if she does end up needing them? Even upside down it's adorable!!

I had the opportunity to interview a local VSP Optometrist, Trevor Conklin, O.D. of Vision Source OKC South. I hope this information helps you as much as it did me in promoting good eye health in your home!!

At what age should children start getting eye exams?

It is recommended that a child receive his or her first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age to one year, again at age three, and then just before starting kindergarten.  There are some conditions such as “lazy eye” that if diagnosed early are treatable.  However, if they are not treated at a young age can potentially cause life long vision impairment.  

What can be some bad effects if children aren't being checked regularly and provided with proper eye care? 

One of the most critical items for a child to have success in school is VISION.  Many conditions go undiagnosed because individuals believe an eye exam only measures how well you can see.  There are many conditions relating to the eyes that can hinder or delay a child’s school success and early detection and treatment is essential.  Vision impairments on children have a direct impact on developmental disabilities, socialization, school success and productivity as they progress into adulthood. Here are some troubling facts:

  • 1 in 4 children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems (COVD).
  • According to the National PTA, close to 10 million children in the U.S suffer from undetected vision problems that may cause them to fail in school.
  • 70% of Juvenile delinquents have uncorrected vision problems
  • 60% of children labeled as “problem” learners actually suffer from undiagnosed vision problems.

What are some signs parents can watch for in their kids to know if they might need an eye exam or that they have be having vision problems?

• Squinting eyes or closing one eye

• Tilting or turning his or her head to see more clearly

• Holding things very close to read

• Any eye turn or “lazy” eye

• Not being able to see the depth of a 3D movie     

• Difficulty completing assignments 

• Headaches after or during reading

• Skipping/rereading lines of print

• Double vision, words overlapping

• Falling asleep while reading/avoidance of near work

Most children are afraid to go to the doctor, how can we help prepare our kids for their eye exams and best educate them?

An eye exam should be a fun experience for a child especially his or her first eye exam.  Let the children know it will be fun and safe.  Try not to let talk about the “doctor” or an “exam” as much as letting someone look at their eyes while enjoying a fun experience.  We are not here to take a Childs blood or give them shots, so try not to make it seem that way.  

For me as a mom and someone with horrible vision, eye health for my children is very important. What tips do you have to help me promote good eye health in my home?

Just as a mother applies sun screen to the skin they should also consider the Ultra Violet (UV) damage to the eyes.  Most of the UV damage to a child’s eyes is done before the age of 18 so it is very important to give them good UV protection at a young age.  Also children should watch his or her parent’s wear safety glasses to help instill eye protection when doing dangerous activities like lawn work.

Dr. Trevor Conklin is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Northeastern State University College of Optometry.  Dr. Conklin completed externships in ocular disease and refractive surgery. In 2006 Dr. Conklin received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Oklahoma.  He is a member of the American Optometric Association, theOklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians, and South Oklahoma City Rotary Club.  During his free time Trevor enjoys sports and is an avid outdoor enthusiast.

A huge thank you to Dr. Conklin for helping me out, and for helping us all be aware of how important eye health is with our kiddos! I really appreciate it!

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Remember, the book drive is still going on until next Wednesday!! You can still donate at the Chick-fil-A at 2nd & Bryant in Edmond, or email me if you would like to make a large donation!! 

Also, if you are donating, please let me know so you can be entered to win the Nike Transitions Glasses!!

book drive update & a giveaway!

Hi everyone! I've been super busy lately, but I'm excited to catch you up on the local book drive I'm doing!! I've had some awesome feedback and some great organizations jump on board to help out! I'm excited about all the books we are bringing in and how many eye exams we are going to have the chance to give away. How about a little something for those of you who are donating?? I have an amazing pair of Nike transitions sunglasses to give away to one of you!! It's going to be simple to enter, just go donate a book at the Chick-fil-A location at 2nd & Bryant in Edmond. Then email me, or leave a comment here letting me know the name of the book you donated. You will be entered to win! If you have already donated books and would like to enter, you can! Just leave a comment or send an email!

These amazing glasses could be yours! 

A huge thank you again to all of you who are making this a success!!! Go donate some more books and let's give these kiddos a great chance at their education!

Bess the Book Bus: Interview with Jenn Frances

Have you guys heard of "Bess the Book Bus"? I hadn't either until recently. But this is so stinking awesome! Jenn Frances travels all over the country with her mobile library and gives books out to children in need! Isn't that awesome?? I thought so.

I had the chance to ask Jenn some questions about what she does and why she does it. I love hearing from the hearts of people who are pouring their lives into helping others. I just adore all she is doing!!

 -- INTERVIEW WITH JENN FRANCES -- 

 How did you get started with the Book Bus?

I founded Bess in 2002 by cashing in my 401k. I was looking to give back or volunteer in my community and I couldn't find a fit.  She is named after my Nana, Nana Bess. We called her Nana Bus.  Visit www.bessthebookbus.org for the whole story!

What has been your motivation to do what you do to help children?

The looks on their faces when they get their new books. Hugs. And we get great letters. I love it when kids tell me about the books they have gotten and what the books mean to them.

How many books do you give away each year? 

We average 65,000. Our goal is 100,000

Where do your books come from?

We work a lot with First Book and also with Capstone Publishers and Townsend Press. We have also worked with Penguin, Simon&Schuster, and Candlewick Press in the past. We also get a lot of books from independent bookstores and book drives.

What's one of your favorite stories of how you have impacted a child?

There is a young man named Tyler Bolden who's teachers thought he wasn't a very good reader. He was 9 when I met him. I read to his brothers in Head Start and his mom came to me asking for help. After talking to her about Tyler, I thought that maybe he just hadn't found a book that would interest him. I gave him a stack and he became hooked on the James Patterson Angel Experiment series. I then regularly gave his mom books for Tyler. We would even get him signed James Patterson books at Book Expo America every year. The family became friends of mine. I visited them when they moved to Houston. We made them part of our 2010 trip. They moved back to Florida last year. He is 15 now. I still see the family- all 5 kids. I just got an advance copy of the newest Patterson book for Tyler. The whole family reads a lot. On Thanksgiving, Tyler posted on my Facebook Page that Bess is what he was most thankful for, because having Bess in his life made him a big reader. 

How can people best give to help your efforts?

Right now we desperately need funds for the trip. Due to $10k in bus repairs, we are short the amount we will need to make the trip. Gift cards for restaurants and hotels or campgrounds are so valuable to us. We are also launching a Kickstarter site. We will need a lot of backers. 

Why did you choose to support the VSP / Transitions book drive?

Transition's Optical and VSP Vision Care have supported Bess the Book Bus since 2009 when they surprised us on the Early Show. It has been a magnificent partnership that has allowed thousands of our kids across the USA to have the gift of healthy sight and tens of thousands to experience the joy of owning new books. I would do anything for them. Anything. We are a team.

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Don't forget about the Book Drive we are having in OKC! You can drop off books at at either of these two locations: 

Chick-fil-A Edmond 2nd Street  Chick-fil-A at May & 63rd

Eyecare About Reading: Book Drive

INTRODUCING: "EYECARE ABOUT READING" BOOK DRIVE COMPETITION!

I'm thrilled to announce the "Eyecare about Reading" Book Drive Competition! I am teaming up with VSP, Transitions Optical and Bess the Book Bus for this exciting adventure. The book drive will bring in books for kids in need while promoting the importance of eye health for reading and education success. Can you believe that 1 in 4 kids has an undetected eye problem?? 

That's why we are doing this book drive! 80% of what we learn is through our eyes, and if a child can't see properly...they can't learn properly!

For every 3 books received, VSP will donate 1 free eye exam! I am so excited that we are teaming up with The Boys and Girls Club of OKC to pass along these books and eye exams. I'm excited for these children to have the opportunity to keep their eyes in good health and help further their education. The children will receive an eye exam and be fitted for Transitions glasses if needed!

These incredible children's book authors have come on board also to show their support and provide signed books for the kids!

John Perry: The Book that Eats People Margaret Mason: These Hands Debbie Diesen: The Pout-Pout Fish, The Big-Big Dark, The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade Rebecca Emberley: Chicken Little Cynthia Lord: Rules, Touch Blue, Hotrod Hamster

What fun would it be without a little friendly competition??

OKC will be competing with 2 other cities to bring in the most books!!!!! The city that brings in the most books, will win an additional 100 free eye exams, a visit from Bess the Book Bus and a visit from the VSP/Transitions Optical Mobile Eyes Clinic. So yeah, let's win ok??

Why am I passionate about this?

I have really bad eyes. Like, REALLY bad. When I'm not wearing my glasses or contacts, I literally can not see my own hand in front of my face. Eye health is really important to me. For the future of my kids. If they take after me (which is pretty likely), they will end up in glasses by 1st grade. I want other parents to know the importance of eye exams and how it can impact your kids education.

How can you help?

Drop off those books! Go dig through your kids books (or even your books!) and bring us anything you can part with!

I don't live in OKC, but I still want to help!

You can! You can! Go here, and make a "promise" to keep good eye health. For every promise received, Transitions will donate one book!!

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OKLAHOMA CITY DROP OFF LOCATIONS:

Chick-fil-A Edmond 2nd Street Chick-fil-A at May & 63rd

A HUGE thank you to my friends at Chick-fil-A for being a part of this! Go have some chicken and drop off your books!

If you would like to make a large donation, please email me!