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Mobile Eye Clinic FAQs

The following are some frequently asked questions about the pediatric program and the low vision on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic.  Please contact us for further information.

FAQs about the Pediatric Program on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic

Why are dilating eye-drops necessary in a pediatric eye exam?
Learn more about dilation for children.

How do I book an appointment with the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic?
Personnel from the child's school, preschool, or child center, makes the booking with us @ 617-587-5700. For a child to participate, parents must complete and sign the Parent Consent form, with as much information as possible, and send the form back to the contact person at the child's school/center.

At what age can a child have an eye exam?
Children of any age can have an eye exam – especially if there is any hint there may be a problem with the child's eyes or vision. An eye exam at preschool age provides an important baseline from which to compare future vision changes. It may also pick up vision problems that may not be obvious to parents, teachers, or pediatricians and may still be most treatable while the child is young.

Any child who has failed a vision screening at school or at their pediatrician's office, or who has developmental or neurological delays, should receive an eye exam from an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Vision can change, sometimes rapidly, as a child grows. A delay, or lack of comprehensive vision care, and not wearing eyeglasses when prescribed, may critically affect a child's ability to learn, concentrate, develop socially, and their academic and/or athletic performance.

How do I know if a child needs an eye exam?
A child who repeatedly displays any of the following symptoms, should be examined by an eye doctor:

  • Difficulty seeing - up close, or objects in the distance, or both
  • Avoiding and disliking schoolwork
  • Performing below their potential
  • Difficulty coordinating hand/eye movements
  • Feeling tired
  • Repeated headaches
  • Short attention span or poor concentration
  • Trouble focusing and keeping ones place while reading
  • Needs to tilt or lay head on desk or floor for reading
  • Skips or re-reads lines while reading
  • Trouble with reading comprehension

A child will not outgrow a vision problem, and cannot overcome a vision problem simply by trying harder. If a child has failed a vision screening at school, or at their pediatrician's office, they should be taken to an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

What happens during the eye exam on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic?
Children receive a Comprehensive eye exam from an experienced eye doctor who specializes in children's vision. This eye exam is not a quick vision screening (such as at the pediatrician's office, or by the school nurse) but takes about 45 minutes. Dilating eye drops are used by the eye doctor. The eye exam determines if the child's eyes are healthy, focusing correctly, working well as a pair and whether the child is seeing well at all distances.  Each child receives a prescription for eyeglasses if necessary, mailed to the home address. Parents/guardians also receive the results of the eye exam, mailed to the home address

Can a parent be present at the child's eye exam?
Yes. Please make arrangements with the child's school or center that the mobile clinic is visiting. Parents/guardians receive the results of the eye exam, mailed to the home address.

Is there a cost for the eye exam on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic?
As with any eye clinic, we work through health insurance. Not all insurance policies cover children's vision, but many do. We ask for the health insurance information on the consent form and we will contact the parent if their child is NOT AT ALL covered by health insurance for the eye exam. Please make sure the form is filled out accurately. We encourage each family to check with their own health insurance company so their child's individual vision coverage is fully understood.

How does a child receive eyeglasses after the eye exam?
Often, we have programs which will allow the child an additional pair of eyeglasses at no cost. If so, eyeglasses can be chosen on the mobile clinic, and delivered back to the center where the child had the eye exam, soon afterwards.   If the child has vision insurance for eyeglasses, the new eyeglasses prescription can be taken to any optical center to order a new pair of eyeglasses. If there is no vision insurance for eyeglasses, parents should indicate this on our Parent Consent form and we will direct the family to programs that can offer assistance.

My child's eyeglasses are lost or broken. Does my child need to have another eye exam to receive another pair of eyeglasses?
Lost and broken eyeglasses can be replaced at no cost with many health insurances. Check with the insurance company about your individual policy. To receive another pair of eyeglasses without the prescription, parents can return to the place the child last received their eyeglasses. With a current prescription, you can order a pair of eyeglasses at most optical stores. If the child's prescription is over one year old, the child will need to have another eye exam. Eyeglasses can also be ordered with us on the mobile clinic, after the eye exam.

Is there a difference between the eye screening the school nurse or pediatrician does, and an eye exam on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic?
Yes. Vision screening done at school or in a pediatrician's office is a quick test to determine changes in vision. It is important to know that a vision screening may not always accurately determine your child's full eye health or vision. Failing a vision screening means a child needs to go to a trained professional - an eye doctor or ophthalmologist - for a comprehensive eye exam. At this exam, the eye doctor identifies the source of the problem and treats any eye disease or vision problems that may need eye-glasses or other types of vision correction. On the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic we give comprehensive eye exams.


FAQs about the Low Vision Program on the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic

How can I get the mobile eye clinic to come visit our group or facility?
Contact Kellie Cuadrado at 617-396-8587 or email

What are the responsibilities of the site?
At each community site, a "point person" will be assigned to work with the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic staff to help:

  • arrange a date & location
  • assist individuals in signing up for eye exams
  • encourage older adults who do not have health insurance, do not have an eye-doctor, do not regularly have a comprehensive eye exam, who remain alone, and/or have been identified as possibly having vision loss by friends, family or care-givers, to receive an eye exam.
  • provide the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic staff a completed schedule at least 1 week before our scheduled visit
  • provide feedback to NECO Mobile Eye Clinic staff about necessary follow-up care co-ordination

What services are provided on the mobile eye clinic?
We provide on-site eye exams and low vision evaluations by eye doctors who specialize in the care of older adults. We can assist people in obtaining the appropriate eyeglasses prescriptions or complete an assessment of low vision device and recommendation to meet each person's unique capabilities and goals. We also provide referral to rehabilitation services, follow up eye care services, and referral to social service agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

What is an eye exam?
A comprehensive eye and vision exam can only be conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, who has the specialized training needed to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment.  Using specialized equipment and procedures, comprehensive eye examinations are the only effective way to confirm or rule out the presence of any eye disease, abnormalities or vision problem.

A comprehensive adult eye examination can include:

  • Patient and family health history
  • Visual acuity measurement
  • Tests of visual function and eye health including depth perception, color vision, peripheral vision and response of the pupils to light
  • Assessment of refractive status to determine the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
  • Evaluation of eye focusing, eye teaming and eye movement abilities
  • Eye health examination and other tests as needed

What is a visual screening?
Vision screening helps identify undetected vision problems or changes in vision. The person is then referred for further evaluation to an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. Vision screenings can take many forms – they are often done at schools, by a pediatrician or other primary care physician, when applying for a driver's license, and can be a part of local health fairs put on by hospitals, social service agencies or fraternal groups like the Lions and Elks Clubs.

There is often misunderstanding about what passing a vision screening means. The vision screening provides a quick measure of certain aspects of vision, but cannot evaluate everything about eye health, function, and vision - only a comprehensive eye exam can do that.  A New England College of Optometry Mobile Eye Clinic vision screening quickly identifies an older adult's risk and need for further vision care, based on a check of their visual function. In no way can a visual screening take the place of an eye exam.

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