Contacts: Kathy Barton
February 16, 2010
A clearer outlook is in store for approximately 3,400 Houston-area schoolchildren.
Ranging in age from 6 to 18, the children will receive free vision exams and eyeglasses as part of a nine-day clinic that the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) and the charitable foundation OneSight began today.
The students will travel by bus from 91 area schools to the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center. The facility has been converted into a vision clinic for the initiative with the help of OneSight’s 40-foot, state-of-the-art eyewear production vehicle EyeVan (pronounced Ivan).
The Vision Partnership, as the collaboration between HDHHS and OneSight is known, accepted the 3,400 children for the clinic after the school districts pre-selected them through teacher recommendations. Other schoolchildren qualified to take part in the clinic if they failed simple vision acuity screenings, have health issues contributing to poor vision or a family history of diabetes and glaucoma.
The students will receive comprehensive vision exams that include testing for disease, color blindness, depth perception and eye muscle balance and the need for eyewear prescription.
Most children will get eyeglasses the same day that they are seen by teams of volunteers that include ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, many from across the county. Children needing more complex eyewear prescriptions will get their eyeglasses a few days later when public health professionals deliver them to their schools. Seventy-five public schools from seven-area school districts and 16 charter schools are participating in the clinic.
An estimated one in four school-age children has a vision problem that interferes with their ability to learn, according to Prevent Blindness America.
The children get to select the frames that EyeVan’s lab technicians will use to make their eyeglasses.
OneSight, a Luxottica Group Foundation, is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education. OneSight combines 20 years of innovation from three former Luxottica charitable programs – Give the Gift of Sight and the Pearle Vision Foundation in North America as well as Community I-Care in Australia – into one, new global foundation. Since 1986, these charitable efforts have provided free vision care and eyewear to more than seven million people in need around the world and have granted millions towards research and education.
The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS)provides local disease surveillance, preventive health care for the residents of Houston, treatment for selected diseases, a wide range of environmental services and enforcement of certain city and state laws.