Pencils are sharpened, notebooks are at the ready and the excitement of a new school year, full of new beginnings and possibilities, is in the air for students all around the United States. But many are starting the school year off at a disadvantage. Some have to squint to read the blackboard or borrow notes from their friends; others lose their place while reading their text books.
These students suffer from uncorrected refractive errors – most commonly nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism – which can usually be corrected with a simple pair of eyeglasses. Returning to school without glasses can diminish the opportunity for these children to gain a valuable education, since roughly 80% of what children learn is taken in through their eyes.
HKI’s ChildSight® program provides in-school vision screenings, prescription eyeglasses and referrals for follow-up care as needed, for middle and high school students living in six states across the country. Students like Issamary from Brooklyn, who is entering the seventh grade this year. In sixth grade, Issamary had trouble seeing from far away. She had to ask her friend to read the board for her, and because of this they would often get in trouble for talking in class. Issamary struggled in school, even in math, her favorite subject. Now, thanks to a recent ChildSight® screening at her summer day camp, Issamary is starting off the new school year with a beautiful new pair of blue glasses and, most importantly, clear vision.
With corrected vision, students like Issamary are able to see what they have been missing – lessons and assignments on the board, new ideas in books or baseballs when they step up to the plate. Being able to see and better engage with the world can help children feel good about themselves and have a better view of the opportunities that the world has to offer, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Last year, ChildSight® screened nearly 90,000 students across the country, providing over 19,000 of them with the prescription eyeglasses needed to help them reach their full potential. And we are excited to kick off a new school year, during which we plan to give even more children across the United States the gift of clear vision.