Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas Delta Gammas Are On The SPOT

Guess what I’m describing . . . “stand behind the line, cover your left eye with your left hand and read line 4”.  Vision screening at your doctor’s office!  The same tried and true method our parents used!

But vision screening, one of Delta Gamma’s philanthropic missions, has entered the digital era and Dallas Delta Gammas are at the forefront of using this technology.

“No longer do we have to lug the stereopsis (depth perception) kit and the vision screening equipment consisting of a light box that rested on cast iron legs.  Nor do we have to measure exactly 10 feet from the box to the client’s heels then instructing patients on how to communicate what they see”, says Janet Temaat, Delta Gamma Foundation of Dallas (DGFD) Vision Screening Chair.  “Now it’s point, click and results are digitally captured and are then downloaded to the school nurse’s computer or other health care coordinators.”

Enter the SPOT machine created by Pediavision out of Lake Mary, Fla.  The digital camera-looking device weighs approximately 2.5 pounds and provides a wealth of information at the click of a button.

How the spot machines works is simply entering patient names, dates of birth and sex into the SPOT machine, very much like adding information onto your smart phone.  This information can be downloaded via Wi-fi from the schools files or other administrators, saving even more time.  

Patients are instructed to sit still, look at the camera and click – it’s over.  But the immediate information gleaned from this snapshot include if there is near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia), unequal refractive power (anisometropia), blurred vision, eye structure problem (astigmatism), pupil size deviations (anisocoria) and/or eye misalignment (strabismus).  Information shared enables the patient, or their caregivers, data to determine if a professional follow up exam should be scheduled.

Information, screening results and recommendations are then easily stored and transferred to support various electronic records, thus being able to compare data on a patient from year to year.

In addition to the high-tech offerings, the SPOT machines allow screeners to test more patients in a shorter time.  Gone are the days of communicating what the patient should do, especially lengthy if the English is their second language.  Gone are the days of reading multiple lines with one eye and then with the other.  Additionally, gone are the days when trained volunteers had to calculate the results.  This process usually took four to five minutes per patient.  These steps now are all replaced with the click of a button or “a blink of an eye!”

At a recent screening of four-year olds to 2nd graders, students shared they “didn’t feel a thing”, “they told me I had Super Man vision”, “I just sat there” and “they let me see the picture of my eyes”.

This is the second year DGFD volunteers have used the SPOT machine.  “We were first introduced to the SPOT machine during our annual training with Texas Prevent Blindness”, said Temaat.  “Their director suggested we might be interested in this newest technology. “  Through fundraisers and grants, two SPOT machines have been purchased.  Last year, DGFD volunteers screened over 1200 clients and this year are expecting to screen even more. 

DGFD is fund-raising umbrella for the four Dallas-area Delta Gamma alumnae groups-- Dallas Day, Dallas Night, Dallas Northwest Cities and Dallas North Cities and its mission is to provide service, funds and public awareness regarding all areas of sight.

For more information, or to schedule screenings, please contact

Written by: Laura Stockdale, Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Many Joys of Teach For America

There are many joys that come with teaching. There is no other job where you see your students’ ecstatic fist pumps after getting that A on a quiz. Or where you set Hot Cheetos on fire to teach students about thermodynamics as well as nutrition. Or where your sneezes prompt a chorus of “bless you!”(This is one of the most endearing things that I wish all people could experience).

Teach for America is about building relationships with students and partnering with coworkers to build a better school.  It’s about supporting children so they have the chance to see themselves achieve success inside and outside the classroom. 

I will be the first to tell you that it is not an easy journey. But I will also be the first to point out that with those challenges come many opportunities to make a positive impact on a community.

Erica Duh, Beta Theta-Duke grew up in the Washington metropolitan area. She is currently in her third year as a high school chemistry teacher in South Central Los Angeles. She can be contacted at with any questions or concerns regarding the application process and the TFA experience.

Teach for America application: