A thorough eye exam is critical to ensure that a child’s vision is developing properly.
Our partnership with Hellen Keller International has resulted in thousands of vision screenings, eye exams, and free eyeglasses for our youth. Since 2007, the organization has provided more than 13,000 glasses to our students.
During this year’s Summer Rising initiative, specialists visited our community schools across Manhattan and the Bronx to make sure students received the care they needed.
Sandra Romero, assistant school director for Whitney Young Jr. Campus in the Bronx, said that after a year of virtual learning, it was important for students to take advantage of these services.
“We’ve heard from families that kids have been spending too much time on their screens,” she said.
Students who already wear glasses may also need a new pair, but insurance usually only covers one set of glasses per year. Through this partnership, the burden on parents to finance a new pair is removed.
“Because they’re kids, either they’re broken or they get scratched, and parents are not able to get another pair until the following year,” Sandra said. “I’ve had families reach out [for financial help] to pay for new glasses.”
Children in families living in poverty are at greater risk of uncorrected vision problems because they struggle to find time, resources, and information to access health care. Vision issues can worsen over time, with serious consequences.
Overall, more than 1,100 students in our Summer Rising programs had an eye screening, and 58 students were referred to the on-site licensed optometrist for a full eye exam. In total, we distributed customized eye glasses to 328 students throughout 10 schools.