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Free exams help local kids’ vision

Published 5:28pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In an effort to help local children get proper eye care, Dr. Alan Montgomery’s vision office offered free eye exams to 40 kids last week for the fourth year in a row.

By advertising through fliers sent to Dowagiac schools, optician and office manager Sue Shire said the event this year.

Montgomery and his staff began offering free eye exams to children, ages 4 through 12, to help bridge the gap between parents who may not have health care or haven’t thought to have their children’s vision screened.

“We make sure their eyes are working together, and Dr. Montgomery checks everything out and recommends if they may need a full eye exam,” Shire said Monday. “The event grows every year.”

While families wait for their exam, the office, 55021 M-51 in Dowagiac, offers games to keep the kids busy. Afterward, a copy of the results is given for parents to keep on file or use in the event they decide to take their children for a more in-depth exam.

“Some of the kids don’t have the chance to see an eye doctor,” Shire said. “This is important that parents know if there is a problem with their child’s eyesight.”

Montgomery echoed the fact children and their parents can’t always afford to include vision into their health care plans, a major reason Montgomery began the free exams.

“The key is to get people in here and make sure their kids are seeing properly,” Montgomery said.  “If I recommend they have another exam or that they need glasses, they are free to go wherever they’d like … we aren’t trying to get more patients.”

Montgomery said, in some cases, the free exams helped some families find out about eyesight conditions that should be corrected.

“Some were nearsighted, or some had muscle imbalances which comes with reading,” Montgomery said. “They can then go and have those issues corrected.”

The free exams event is annual and is usually held in September. Shire said she hopes more families will take advantage of the opportunity next year.

“We get to help kids who may need it,” Shire said.

For more information, call (269) 782-3476.

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