Appointments taken for free vision screening in Oxford, Stovall

Jan. 25, 2013 @ 02:55 PM

Granville County adults aged 30 and above can receive a free eye checkup on Feb. 6.

The vision screening is conducted using a special camera to take images of the eye’s retina.

The screening is being conducted by Prevent Blindness North Carolina and is co-sponsored by N.C. Cooperative Extension, Granville County Center.

“I think it’s particularly valuable for people without health insurance,” said Joan Reid, director of Granville County Cooperative Extension. “It’s not the same as going to an eye doctor.”

However, it can alert a person to a health issue.

“It might be the very first clue that a person has diabetes,” she said, as one example of a health threat the person might not have been aware.

The screening will take place at two locations:

• Granville County Extension Center, 208 Wall St., in Oxford, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

• North Granville Senior Center, 118 U.S. 15 North, in Stovall, from 9 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.

Both screening sites are handicapped accessible.

Residents should schedule an appointment by calling the extension center at (919) 603-1350 or by emailing name and phone number to sandy_ruble@ncsu.edu.

“We have some openings in Stovall and more in Oxford,” Reid said. “This is the fourth time we’ve done it, so the response is a little less this time.”

However, she urged people to make an appointment. “Once the spots are filled, they’re filled,” she said.

Retinal image screening assists in the detection of eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Information of the vascular system, such as diabetes, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis is also obtained from the imaging.

The screening uses non-contact photography.

Reid said, “It’s quick and easy. It takes less than eight minutes.”

The images are forwarded to volunteer eye doctors. Within four to six weeks a participant will receive a card in the mail describing results of the screening and making a recommendation about whether to follow up with an eye doctor for a more thorough examination.

Marcia Brantley, director of preschool and community screening for Prevent Blindness N.C., said the organization offers screening primarily in eastern and central North Carolina.

“It’s not in every county,” she said.

The locations depend on need and the amount of funding the organization receives. PBNC is supported primarily by foundations and private grants, she said. The Kate B. Reynolds Foundation provides funding for adult screening.

State funds help support screening of children but not adults, Brantley said.

PBNC, a nonprofit health agency, was organized in 1967 as an independent affiliate of Prevent Blindness America. It provides screening, publications, education and information to help North Carolinians preserve their sight.


Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.