The MSOE School of Nursing is teaming up with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin to host the first-ever Vision Screening and Eye Health symposium tonight at MSOE in the Campus Center, 1025 N. Broadway, room CC-244. The symposium, which will kick off Tuesday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m., will include a panel presentation featuring MSOE Assistant Professor of Nursing Rhonda Powell.

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that offers free, certified vision screenings, which identify children and adults who need full eye exams. PBW partners with universities like MSOE, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch to implement vision screenings and eye health clinicals into nursing program coursework. Nursing students in turn help provide the screenings.

“It’s a win-win for both organizations,” Powell said. “For our students it’s an opportunity to develop their skills through health training, connect with clients in the community, and earn clinical hours. The community clients receive free vision screenings and are being helped to identify vision problems and get vouchers for exams and eye glasses.”

MSOE nursing students screen between 1,000-1,500 children in grades kindergarten through high school annually. In one screening of 300 students, 30 were referred for eye exams and within six weeks, 12 were examined and prescribed eyes glasses.

“Studies show that one-quarter of all school-age children have some type of vision problems and their education is affected,” Powell said. “The earlier it’s detected the sooner it can be treated.”

Powell hopes the symposium will increase awareness about the program.

“I think we have had a major impact on Milwaukee already,” Powell said. “But if more community partners come forward, we can affect an even larger portion of the population.”

The symposium is expected to last 90 minutes. Parking is available in the Broadway parking lot. Street parking is also available.