A humble local research project in Mississippi, 2010, was undertaken to help solve the most pressing challenge facing Aberdeen’s schooling system at the time - a high drop-out rate.1,2   Studies show that  70-75% of juvenile delinquents have vision disorders3 [link to internal page 15 ], and children with undiagnosed vision problems are at higher risk of behavioral problems. Both vision problems and visual processing disorders may accompany dyslexia and autism spectrum disorders.

A protocol with the Southern College of Optometry implemented functional vision screening and showed that 26% of the children presented symptoms of BVD.3  While it matches international occurrence, this startling reality is tinted by the fact that few local families can afford vision therapy, not to mention travel expenses to the only center in the state at that time. We knew something needed to be done, and that’s when the seeds of Monroe County Children’s Vision Center (CVC) were planted.

With the help of two special Developmental Optometrists as Founding Directors, a group of local educators and businesspeople met in February 2013 to discuss the creation of a clinic in Aberdeen.  The mission was to provide care for those children first identified in the study and to encourage identification of other children in the school district who were also in need of the care.

In a world where vision disorders are being increasingly recognized, but are not covered by Mississippi Medicaid or insurance companies, that founding board concluded we must provide no-cost vision treatment to the children of families in need.  Other states do provide coverage and we hope in time that Mississippi will be able to do so.

Because CVC’s Founder had spent many years in medical research, the entity was destined to be research-based. Western University College of Optometry was contacted and agreed to partner with CVC and to allow their Institutional Review Board to oversee the research.  In September 2014, CVC was certified as a 501[C]3 nonprofit corporation. Today, our board of local businesspeople and developmental optometrists from across the nation remains committed to providing free vision care, initially to families of Monroe County and to a broader region in time.

  1. This is a Dropout Nation: The High Cost of Juvenile Justice, RiShawn Biddle, 11-23-2019:
  • $5.7B annual cost of incarcerating juveniles
  • 55% recidivism in FL, NY and VA
  • Only 12% ever graduate or get a GED
  • 40% need specialized comprehensive reading training (phonics plus whole language)
  1. Adult Literacy in America: NAAL 2003 contains latest data. 64% of those who do not graduate or earn a GED read at basic or below.  One in seven can’t read at all.
  2. STUDY RESULTS: Parts of the Education Elephant

The following data describe a total of 257 students who had one or more of three evaluations over the course of one year.  The functional vision exam and auditory evaluation required parental consent and not all students were consented.  The Cohort described in the data summary comprised students who had all three evaluations.

  1. First week of May, 2010: The Dysexia screen was completed on every child in the school.  This instrument was available from the Mississippi Department of Education to any teacher who was concerned about a student.  The screen has since been updated.
  2. November, 2010: Functional vision screening by a team of four doctors from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.
  3. May, 2011: Screening with the Developmental Test of Auditory Perception (DTAP),


Total students screened:                                   257  (Cohort—all screens = 88):

120 Male, 137 Female

241 Black, 12 White, 3 Hispanic, 1 Asian

Total symptomatic of Dyslexia:                       71 / 214 = 33%

Total with Abnormal Vision (see below):      106 / 190 = 56%

Total with Auditory abnormalities:                  96 / 154 = 62%

Total with Reading Disorder (Automaticity):  48 / 154 = 34%

Class makeup of Dyslexia Screeners:


1) Students symptomatic for Dyslexia

    • Mild (5-8 checked):                      45 = 21% of 214
    • Moderate (9-12 checked):            17 =   8%
    • Severe (> 13):                                 9 =    4%

2) Total Vision abnormality indicators

    • Glasses:                                11/ 121 =   9%
    • Dilated Exam Required        11/ 121 =   9%
    • Therapy per exams:              32/ 121 = 26%
    • Oculo-Muscular Disorder:    60/ 167 = 36%
    • Automaticity:                  38/ 167 = 23%

3) Cohort Students symptomatic for Dyslexia

    • Mild (5-8 checked)               45 / 88 = 51%
    • Moderate (9-12 checked)      17 / 88 = 19%
    • Severe (> 13):                    9 / 88 = 10%


Teacher> 5 IndicatorsNumber in Class% Affected
Late Screens3933%


This chart describes the percent

of students in each teacher’s class

who had indications of dyslexia.

Note two teachers who had more

than 45% of their class who

require extra attention.