Meet Sierra: A Vision of Success

Sierra was in her last year of preschool, preparing to go into kindergarten, when she started having problems at school. Her teacher said she had been attentive all year but slowly started to act uninterested and distracted. She could tell Sierra was starting to fall behind. What could be wrong?

When informed, Sierra’s mother, Angela, worried that this was a behavioral issue or even a learning disability. However, several days later, a team of individuals from MEDARVA Healthcare visited the school. They  conducted a free hearing and vision screening. Angela was surprised to find out that her daughter was struggling to learn and stay alert because of a vision impairment. Though it was not clearly visible just by looking at her, Sierra had amblyopia, or lazy eye. Amblyopia can have a significant effect on a child’s learning if not detected early. Thanks to MEDARVA, Sierra received glasses for her condition and is now in Kindergarten at the top of her class.

Free Vision and Hearing Screening for Children Entering Kindergarten

MEDARVA Healthcare owns and operates Stony Point Surgery Center and West Creek Surgery Center. Its vision and hearing screening program provides free state-of-the-art screenings to children about to enter kindergarten.

“Children only know what they have experienced,” said Bruce P. Kupper, president and CEO of MEDARVA Healthcare. “Blurry vision or muffled hearing may seem normal to them. One in four schoolchildren has a vision impairment significant enough to affect learning. The way a child learns is 80% visual, and 75% auditory; therefore, detecting issues in these areas is imperative for a child’s success.”

Schedule a Screening in Richmond

Free vision and hearing screenings are currently available for scheduling in Richmond and its surrounding counties. Specialists conduct screenings and you will receive the results at the time of the screening. The specialists also provide guidance for referral options if needed. The non-invasive screening only takes a few minutes to complete using mobile devices with proven accuracy.

What are Signs of Vision or Hearing Impairment?

As we grow older, our eyes change. This is why it is crucial to keep an eye on your child’s behavior as they grow. Look for signs that could mean vision impairment. These signs may include:

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading and other close-up activities
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing place when reading
  • Difficulty remembering what he or she read
  • Lowered level of comprehension

Behaviors that could indicate hearing loss may include:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Asking for frequent repetitions
  • Low or slowing achievements
  • Unwanted change in behavior

As your child gets older, ongoing visual and hearing screenings are important. Make sure to get your child screened yearly, even if they do not exhibit physical or behavioral signs of impairment.

Many children, unlike Sierra, go through school with undiagnosed hearing or vision impairments. This has a serious impact on the child’s educational and social success. If you are interested in having MEDARVA come to your child’s school, call 804-545-0294 or email Please visit to learn more about the program.




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