Glasses Show Students What They can Become

Noelle Williams/Helen Keller International

“The world has been so blurry.”

Ashley sits in the front of the classroom and still can’t see. She has never been to the eye doctor before.

“It’s been frustrating not to see,” she says.

Lucky for Ashley, ChildSight® is visiting her school in Orange County, California, today. The program serves low-income students aged 10-15 in underserved communities whose families often have limited access to health or vision care. Quick assessments identify students who have vision that is 20/40 and poorer, and then those students receive an on-site assessment by one of our optometrists. After seeing the doctor, children who need glasses will select their frames from a stylish assortment provided by ChildSight and receive them within two weeks—free-of-charge. We will even replace them for free if they break within a year.

Looking through her prescription for the first time, Ashley said, “I can finally see.”

A few of Ashley’s classmates are also getting the care they need. Angel has been getting headaches. She used to have glasses but they broke years ago. She knows she needs glasses—but her family can’t afford to send her to the eye doctor.

Isaac, like Angel, used to have glasses. Our optometrist suspects he may have keratoconus, a degenerative condition that distorts vision as the cornea becomes cone shaped, and refers him to a specialist for follow up. 

For all three, the glasses are really a symbol. The ability to see brings with it the ability to learn—to see what they can become.

“I see a lot of behavior issues because a kid can’t see, and once they get glasses, teachers say they are paying closer attention in class,” says JD, a school nurse who serves several schools in the Orange County district. “I think we’re going to see an impact on test scores.”  — Courtney Meyer