- 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.
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.