Amanda Durham

Screening Specialist

Emily Belt

Emily is a positive asset to the Vision and Hearing Screening Program, bringing with her 5 years of experience working with preschool aged children. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology.


Emily's Story

I never thought that by joining the MEDARVA team, my son’s life would be forever changed. At the beginning of third grade, he was thriving in school. He had a lot of friends, made good grades, and his teachers enjoyed having him in their classes. This slowly started to change as the school year progressed. Johnny asked if he could skip art night at school because of a headache. Notes were sent home from teachers informing us of incomplete work. Johnny was taking naps after school and homework was taking longer to complete. Each incident never raised a huge red flag for me because I could always attribute it to something else, like allergies or a lack of sleep.

It wasn’t until my son came to visit at my office and I happened to take his picture using the Plusoptix vision screener that it hit me: my son has a vision problem. A week later, he saw Dr. Evan Silverstein, a pediatric ophthalmologist, who confirmed the astigmatism and wrote him a prescription for glasses.

It took some coaxing to make Johnny wear his glasses all the time, but one family bowling night changed that. Johnny was getting frustrated because he was not knocking down a lot of pins. I told him to get his glasses out of my bag and his very next turn he bowled a strike!

Working in this program has been eye opening. I now am more inspired to help not only screen children to identify potential problems, but also help educate parents and teachers on the subtle signs of a vision or hearing problem.

Amanda Durham

Screening Specialist

Briana Spence


Briana's Story

When I was in second grade I found myself constantly having to squint or move to the front of the classroom in order to see the chalkboard. It wasn’t until I started getting frequent headaches that my mother decided to take me to get an eye exam. After seeing the doctor I learned that I was extremely near sighted and was fitted for glasses that day.

When we got the phone call that they were ready for pick up I was more nervous than excited, I was worried about being the “four-eyes” of my grade. However, when I tried them on I was blown away! I could see everything as clear as day without having to squint or tilt my head.

The next day at school I was nervous about putting my new glasses on because I was worried the other kids would make fun of me. I sat at my desk and made sure no one was looking so I could quickly put them on. When I did I could see the chalkboard perfectly fine without having to move closer. In addition to being able to see, I also no longer experienced extremely painful headaches.

Getting glasses improved every aspect of my life and to this day I still go for my bi-annual eye exams and always make sure my prescriptions up to date. I’m very thankful my mother took me to the doctor when I was so young because I could not imagine going on any longer without my glasses!

Amanda Durham

Resource Navigator

Beverly Shepard

Beverly Shepard has worked in health care for more than 25 years. She started with Richmond Eye & Ear in 1998. Beverly currently works as the Resource Navigator for the MEDARVA Vision and Hearing Screening Program.

8700 Stony Point Parkway, Suite 100, Richmond, VA


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