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An education for your #039;pupils#039;

Fifth-grade students at Ironton Middle School solved a mystery and learned about eye care at the same time.

The program, titled the Realeyes Classroom Initiative, was sponsored by the Ohio Optometric Association and the Ohio Department of Health’s Save Our Sight (SOS) grant.

The goal of this free presentation is to teach kids about eye anatomy, health and safety.

&uot;We want to educate students to the value of good eye care,&uot; Jamie Cleverley, SOS program coordinator, said. &uot;It also provides a bridge for doctors to relate to kids.&uot;

The 45-minute presentation allowed fifth-grade students to watch a video and help the private detective solve &uot;The Case of Vinny Vision.&uot; Students looked at optical illusion clues and followed along with the video.

&uot;This program lets students understand the differences between near-sightedness and farsightedness,&uot;

Dr. Amy Press, optometrist from Columbus, said. &uot;If they have a problem their parents can set up a comprehensive exam.

&uot;The kids did well,&uot; Press said. &uot;I think they understood the message.&uot;

Many students said they enjoyed the presentation because it is interactive.

&uot;Guessing the pictures was the [most fun],&uot; Willie Moore, said. &uot;We also learned that sometimes you can do something bad and hurt yourself.&uot;

&uot;The [most fun] part was trying to solve the mystery,&uot; Emily Houston said.

Cleverly said it is important for kids to be exposed to optometrists. More than 400 eye doctors have been trained to teach the lesson.

&uot;Approximately 500,000, 25 percent, of Ohio’s kids have a vision disorder that is undetected,&uot; Cleverly said. &uot;Only 14 percent have had comprehensive vision examinations.&uot;

Math teacher David Miller thinks the program can help students determine whether they have eye problems.

&uot;It is very important. Students sometimes have a problem seeing the board and their grades could suffer,&uot; Miller said.

Ironton Middle is the first school in Lawrence County to host the program. The Realeyes curriculum has been used in 600 schools and seen by more than 40,000 students during the last two years.

After presenting to 16,000 kids the first year, the Realeyes program has been shown to 30,000 students in its second year.

&uot;It has taken awhile to get the word out,&uot; Cleverly said. &uot;But it is now growing rapidly.

&uot;It is a powerful way to educate children,&uot;

he said. &uot;We receive many ‘thank yous’.&uot; Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune