KYCO performs eye screenings to Pike County students

During the fall of 2019, the University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Optometry’s (KYCO) pediatric optometrists and second-year optometry students visited 11 Pike County schools and provided screenings to more than 750 pediatric patients from the first, third and fifth-grade classes.

These screenings assess how well pediatric patients can read from the eye chart and examine how well the eyes work together to provide a generalized view of eye health.

The number of screenings increased by 75% from the previous year and several pediatric patients were referred for further ocular evaluations.

Although extremely beneficial, Assistant Professor of Optometry, Rachel Fitzgerald, O.D., says these screenings do not substitute for a comprehensive exam with a local eye doctor. KYCO hopes the screenings promote the importance of eye care and pediatric eye health in the region.

“With vision playing such an important role in learning, our screenings aim to identify any significant visual problems that could impact a child’s performance in school,” said Fitzgerald.  “In working with these elementary school students, we hope that they take away the importance of routine eye care and understand more about optometry as a possible career path.”

Assistant Dean for Student and Professional Development and Associate Professor of Optometry Josephine Owoeye, O.D., M.P.H., believes it is beneficial for KYCO to form partnerships in the community while offering this valuable service to the school system at no cost.

“The work we are doing allows us to catch and promptly refer children with changes in their vision,” said Owoeye. “It is very likely that these children would have been missed otherwise.”

For more information on the Dr. Jerald F. Combs Eye Clinic at KYCO call (606) 218-5540 or visit