Vision Correction/ChildSight®

The Challenge

  • Refractive errors – most commonly near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism – affect one in four adolescents in the United States.
  • These refractive errors can often be corrected with a simple pair of eye glasses.
  • Without eye glasses, children with refractive error struggle in school and sometimes act up. Poor vision may even lead a child to drop out of school as a result of chronically poor academic performance.

HKI Solution

Helen Keller International recognizes that eyeglasses are as essential to learning as pen, paper and books. Our innovative ChildSight® program serves at-risk children living in urban and rural poverty in six states across the country by offering free vision screenings and eyeglasses to "bring education into focus". ChildSight® overcomes the two biggest barriers to childhood vision care: prohibitive cost and limited access.

  • Every year in the United States, ChildSight® travels to public schools from California to New York. 
  • We screen children on-site to determine their vision correction needs and, within a week, deliver new glasses to those who need them - at no cost to the children or their families. 
  • If more extensive treatment is required, children receive an immediate referral to a nearby ophthalmologist.
  • Since its inception in 1994, ChildSight® has screened over 1.6 million students in the U.S. and has provided free eyeglasses to over 225,000 of the nation's most vulnerable children.
  • Teacher and student surveys have shown that a majority of children who received ChildSight® eyeglasses exhibited a significant increase in class participation, a reduction in disruptive behavior and a dramatic improvement in self-confidence.
  • ChildSight® is currently active outside the U.S. in Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Partnership In Action

Helen Keller International partners with individuals, foundations, corporations and other organizations to help deliver ChildSight® services to disadvantaged children.  For example, ChildSight® Ohio currently serves students in the Cleveland Metro and East Cleveland School Districts.  The program is supported by generous financial contributions, including from the Cleveland-based Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, which was instrumental in bringing the program to the city in 1999.  In addition, the online optical company 39DollarGlasses.com is donating thousands of pairs of eyeglasses in support of the ChildSight® Ohio program.  Thanks to these incredible partners, ChildSight® continues to provide children with clear vision to help them excel in the classroom and beyond.

#ChildSightChat

Miss our recent #ChildSightChat on Twitter? Check out the Storify chat summary for tips and resources surrounding children’s eye health.