Vision for the Future: Uplift Students fitted for free glasses

10259751_739315746089982_796051059359159647_nOver the course of two days this past week, a special van made a welcome appearance at three of Uplift’s Tarrant County schools- Uplift Mighty Prep, Uplift Summit International and Uplift Meridian. The Essilor Vision Van, the mobile clinic for the Kids Vision for Life program which operates under the Essilor Vision Foundation, served scholars in grades K through seven who failed the state vision test and financially qualified.

Aboard the van furnished with equipment, optometrists and staff screened a total of 58 scholars and were able to give 34 scholars prescription glasses on the spot. Students selected their very own designer frames. 18 scholars will have their prescription glasses delivered to them because their Rx was too strong to fill on-site.

One third grade scholar from Uplift Mighty Preparatory chose purple glasses because she liked the color. Her smile as she put the lenses on said it all: “When the teacher writes big I can see but when it’s little, I can’t. I didn’t tell her. But now it feels not blurry! Maybe I will be able to see little letters from far away”.

For thousands of children, keeping up in class is made impossible by the simple fact that they cannot see what is being taught. This seemingly small and easy to fix issue takes a huge toll on the scholar’s ability to learn and keep up with classmates. Due to the prevalence of this in classrooms across the nation, the Essilor Vision Foundation established the Kids Vision for Life program in order to eradicate this hurdle standing in the way of learning. The sad fact is, 25% of school children in the US have a vision problem severe enough to affect learning, not to mention that 78% of juvenile offenders in Dallas County had vision problems. Had these vision problems been corrected early on in life, these statistics could have been significantly curbed.

Uplift nurses report that roughly 25-30% of children screened at our urban campuses need glasses. Many campuses with this exam failure rate report that as little as 5% of scholars actually receive the correction; children must wait until their families can afford glasses.  Uplift addresses this challenge by cultivating referral relationships with local vision clinics that offer reduced rates. But serving children through the van “on-site” simplified this process and ensured that needs were met.

Since 2008, Kids Vision for Life, a program from the Essilor Vision Foundation has given 71,705 pairs of free glasses to children who do not have access to an eye doctor or the ability to pay for prescription glasses. According to the Essilor Vision Foundation website, the Kids Vision for Life program was created after research revealed the critical relationship between uncorrected vision problems and academic underachievement, school dropout, and delinquency.

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