Doing Good: Vision clinic provides free screenings for children

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Up to 25 percent of school children may have vision issues that affect their ability to learn. In an effort to eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences, the Kids Vision for Life Mobile Vision Clinic Tour, a program of the Essilor Vision Foundation and in partnership with the Alcon Foundation, rolled into Atlanta this October.

The mission of Kids Vision for Life is to provide eye exams and eyeglasses free of charge to at-risk students from low-income families, who would not receive them otherwise. It also educates parents and communities about the importance of children’s vision care. This program allows local eye care professionals and volunteers to give back to their community and help ensure that every child has access to good eye care.

“If vision issues are not addressed, children may face lifelong struggles with issues such as literacy, low self-esteem or even unemployment,” said Mark McCann, human resources manager for Alcon. “The positive impact of this program in altering children’s lives is huge, and it not only affects the school being served but the larger community.”

On Oct. 1 - 2, approximately 1,700 Peachtree Elementary students received free vision screenings with the help of volunteers from Alcon’s Johns Creek office and Prevent Blindness Georgia. Then, on October 14-16, Essilor Vision Foundation, Alcon, Prevent Blindness Georgia, and volunteering eye care professionals performed free eye exams for the students who required further evaluation. For those children who needed glasses, they got to choose choose their own pair of glasses from a selection of eyeglass frames.

Since 2012, Kids Vision for Life has performed more than 6,000 screenings, more than 1,000 eye exams and dispensed nearly 900 pairs of custom, free eyeglasses for students at Peachtree Elementary.

“Providing the tools necessary for a student to be successful in school and the community is the most extraordinary gift a child can receive A student can learn to the best of his/her ability when they can see clearly which in turn increases self-esteem and confidence both in school and community,” said Principal Kara Dutton.

Volunteers can get involved with Kids Vision for Life by assisting at future events or raising awareness to bring the program to more Title I schools.

“Our hope is that if we can generate more awareness and involvement for this program, we can bring it to additional schools in the future,” added McCann.

In other news: The Atlanta Community Food Bank was one of 21 organizations to receive funding from BJ's Charitable Foundation to help its partner agencies feed more people in need. With a $23,500 grant, Never Alone, based in Woodstock will receive new refrigeration to benefit the 23,320 people that are food insecure in Cherokee County. BJ's Wholesale Club distributed grants to 20 additional Feeding America food banks.