Students provided free vision screenings through partnership with Essilor

By Five Star Journal

More than one in five school-aged children has a vision problem, according to the Campaign for Educational Equity. That means more than 20 percent of students miss instruction on the board or can’t see the words in their books.

“If kids can’t see, they’re not going to be as successful at school,” said Karina Delaney, Adams 12 Five Star Schools Whole Child Initiatives Coordinator.

In November and December, the district partnered with the Essilor Vision Foundation to provide free eye exams and glasses for low-income students in 12 schools.

Students received an eye exam and then were able to pick their own pair of glasses to wear at school. In addition to removing the cost barrier of glasses for families, Delaney said having Essilor at the school also limits the amount of class time students may miss. That’s because parents may have challenges getting off of work to take their kids to their doctor or optometrist. And, sometimes students will miss an entire day going to these appointments.

“We’re saving kids from missing a lot of instruction time,” Delaney said.

Essilor estimates they spend about 30 minutes per student for a screening and prescription determination.

The foundation has provided 168,000 screenings, 62,000 eye exams and 58,000 new prescription glasses to children in need through its Kids Vision for Life program since 2008.

Five Star District staff is hopeful that getting students involved in their health and vision — especially letting them pick their own glasses — will make them more excited about glasses. And, they’re hoping it will mean students will wear the glasses while they’re in class.

“To see the board, to read their book will make a huge difference,” said Julie McRae, district coordinator for Section 504 and Health Services.