Hundreds of Dallas ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch get free glasses: ‘They are going to make me see better at school.’
Alan Torres eyeballed more than 100 pairs of glasses on a table in front of him. After his old pair broke while running at the park, he said he was excited to pick out a new pair in one of his favorite colors: blue, black or green.
Alan, 7, picked up a pair of light blue frames, looked in a mirror and smiled.
“Wow. I look good,” he said. “I look like a scientist.”
More than 400 Dallas ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD students were given free eye exams and eye glasses on Thursday morning as part of a World Sight Day celebration. The screenings and glasses were provided by Essilor, a Dallas-based lense company, to students with free or reduced lunch at low-income schools. The students had been pre-screened by their school nurse as having poor vision.
“One in four kids have vision problems and this can get in the way of their full potential,” said Howard B. Purcell, the senior vice president of customer development at Essilor. “This is not just about vision but also about health. By examining the eyes we can get an idea about the general body health.”
Students were also given crash courses on eye health by optometrists in between their eye exams and picking out their new frames. The glasses will be delivered to them at their school in two to three weeks.
Eight-year-old Eduardo Gonzalez picked a pair of black glasses, claiming they would help him get one step closer to his goal of one day becoming President of the United States.
“I’m excited because they are going to make me see better at school,” he said.
While scouting for a pair of pink frames, Natalia Maciel, 7, said she wished she could also get a pair for her dog, Lipsey.
“I wonder if my dog could also get glasses because that would be funny,” she said. “I want a pair of pink glasses with sparkles because sparkles make everything great.”
Others weren’t so thrilled about their new frames.
Andy Garcia, a fifth grader at Central Elementary in Carrollton, said he wasn’t looking forward to wearing glasses, but planned to pick out a blue pair since he had no choice.
“I’m not happy because I will look ugly,” Garcia said.
Sandee Kuipers, a registered nurse who works at Farmers Branch Elementary School, cheered with students as they exited the building after ordering their glasses.
“This really helps the children,” she said. “There are 354 students at the school and 107 came here because they needed glasses.”
Lori Canales, an instructional facilitator for second to fifth graders at Central Elementary in Carrollton-Farmers Branch, said her students were enjoying learning about their glasses and she was glad they were able to see an optometrist who could help them.
“I noticed some of them squinting and not being able to read. At times I would ask them how things looked and they would say ‘blurry,'”Canales said. “Some of them don’t understand and they think it’s okay to see blurry.”
Marina Patino, the associate director of Kids Vision for Life at Essilor, said the glasses do not only help students see, but they can also help them feel accepted among their classmates and consequently improve their behavior at school.
“I’ve seen children put on their glasses and say ‘I can see the leaves on the trees’ or even look at their teacher and say ‘I can finally see your face,'” she said. “Sometimes they don’t know that they, too, can see and what they have can be corrected.”