Get an In-Sight Look into a Typical Day at Vision Is Priceless
Vision Is Priceless serves over 42,000 people each year! You’ve heard about our impact, but have you ever wondered what it’s like to work at VIP? We asked two staff members – Marley, a Program Specialist, and Jackie, a Children’s Vision Screener – to recount a typical day at work. Read on to learn more about their day-to-day roles and responsibilities as they work to improve the vision health of Florida’s First Coast!
Learn more about Marley by visiting her staff bio!
Marley Curtis, Program Specialist
A typical day for me starts with running a vision screening! Today I am screening at Operation New Hope, a center for individuals recently released from incarceration. When I arrive at the screening, I set up the Titmus machine and begin screening adults within the program. You might be familiar with the Titmus because it is the same machine used by the DMV to determine your visual acuity scores (20/20, 20/30, etc.).
The screening consists of two parts – a distance visual acuity test and a near vision test. During both parts, the individual being tested reads letters from the machine to determine their visual acuity score for each eye. If the person qualifies for a free eye exam through our Vision Care Program, I help them fill out paperwork. I also give out reading glasses to people that fail the near vision test right at the time of the screening, free of charge!
After going to Operation New Hope and screening about 10 people, I come back to the office and have some lunch. After lunch, I enter the screening results into the database. When a client calls, I take down their information and begin the process of scheduling them for an eye exam appointment with the doctor, where they will get an exam and a prescription for brand new glasses, if needed. Other duties I accomplish during a typical work day include scheduling screenings at new locations, emailing with different agencies and partners to set up recurring screenings, answering phone calls from potential new clients who are interested in our services, and creating folder profiles for individuals that are scheduled for eye exams. Toward the end of the day, I call and confirm appointments for an upcoming clinic with the Arlington Lions Club. After I’m finished, I restock my screening bag with glasses and screening sheets, and head out for the night!
The most enjoyable part of my role would be helping individuals receive services they do not normally have access to. Before working at VIP, I was unaware of the essential role that healthy vision plays in the quality of life for adults in Northeast Florida; so to be able to give that gift to someone that couldn’t receive it elsewhere makes it all worth it. Seeing the look on a client’s face when they put on their new glasses and can finally see well again is incredibly rewarding!
The most valuable thing I have learned working within VIP is how necessary it is to maintain eye health and visit an eye doctor regularly! At VIP, we strive to spread awareness about the importance of eye health. It is always a great feeling when we schedule a client through our program and the doctor can spot an eye issue early on, because this way the issue can be corrected as soon as possible.
Learn more about Jackie by visiting her staff bio!
Jackie Carrino, Vision Screener
A typical day for me starts out by attending a vision screening. Today I am screening The Jericho School, a school for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, in the heart of the Arlington area. I leave my house about an hour before screening because let’s face it, traffic in Jacksonville is terrible! I arrive at the school and speak with the director about the set up. Because the students do better in familiar surroundings, we decide to screen in each classroom instead of having the students come to me in the library like originally planned.
For children’s screenings we use the Spot Vision Screener, a photoscreener capable of detecting eye conditions or risk factors that are known to decrease vision or cause amblyopia. The Spot is incredibly simple and fast! The screening consists of a child looking into the bright colors and patterns produced by the Spot at approximately 3 feet away. While the child is looking, the Spot captures photographs of the child’s eyes, takes measurements, and compares them to standards. Out of the 17 students screened, 1 is referred for a comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist. This screening takes me about 30 minutes to complete.
After the screening, I head to the office to finish out my day; but first I stop by Dunkin Donuts to grab a cup of coffee (I heart caffeine!). Once at the office, I transfer the results from my Spot Vision Screener to our database and then print and mail a referrals package to the school. After all the paperwork is complete, I touch base with the schools I have coming up to make sure they are all set for their screenings and to answer any last-minute questions. While I am in the office I also help answer the phones, check my e-mail, and help search for any new preschools or private schools in the area. Before leaving for the day, I log into our database to see if the school I will go to tomorrow has entered student’ names ahead of time. If they have, I download the names from the database and import them into my Spot machine. I also grab any additional supplies I may need for the screening the next day like our postcards for the parents and activity books for the kids.
Interacting with the children during the screenings. I love how the older children are interested in learning how the Spot works and how they always want to see their friends get screened from my perspective. I also love seeing the younger children pose like they are walking on a fashion runway!
How incredible the First Coast community is. We come together to help one another. Whether it’s a teacher ensuring the students have the tools they need to learn, or community partners helping provide resources. The nonprofit industry consists of passionate people who truly care about the people living in our community.