Program provides free eye exams to more than 600,000 children

Program corrects ten-year-old Michelle’s crossed eye, immediately improving her grades in school

Rancho Cordova, Calif., June 7, 2011 – Ten-year-old Michelle Jones of Chicago, Ill., was struggling in school, and her teacher noticed that Michelle had one eye that crossed when looking at the board. Through VSP’s Sight for Students® program, which provides low income and uninsured children with free eyecare, Michelle is one of the more than 600,000 children who have now received an eye exam and glasses to correct vision- and health-related issues.

Since its inception in 1997, Sight for Students has funded more than $122 million in free eyecare and eyewear for low-income, uninsured and underinsured children, resulting in the detection of nearly 2,000 chronic health and eye diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and cataracts.

According to the American Optometric Association, one in four children have an undetected vision condition that can negatively impact learning. A comprehensive eye exam not only ensures that common vision problems like poor eye coordination, lazy eye and farsightedness (not being able to see close up) are checked, but also can detect signs of chronic health and eye diseases. Most of which, if caught early, are treatable.

“Helping students like Michelle is what Sight for Students is all about,” said VSP Global Chief Marketing Officer, Kate Renwick-Espinosa. “We are proud to have provided hundreds of thousands of students in need with the opportunity to visit a VSP eye doctor for both a comprehensive eye exam and glasses, if needed.”

“Before her eye exam, I could tell that Michelle’s progress in school was not what it should have been,” said Michelle’s mother, Patricia Jones. “Since she received her new glasses, her performance in school has significantly improved. But just as important, her exam provided us with an opportunity to treat her eye disorder before it became untreatable.”

VSP works with non-profit community organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Communities in Schools, Head Start, National Association of School Nurses, and Prevent Blindness America to deliver Sight for Students gift certificates. The majority of the Sight for Students glasses are made at the VSP Optical Lab located in Columbus, Ohio and all patients are seen by a private practice doctor who is part of the VSP network.

“Sight for Students is providing a critical need to students across the country.  In order for kids to do their best, they have to see their best.  While the eyecare and eyewear may be ‘free,’ the impact it has on the kids who receive exams and glasses is invaluable,” said Hugh R. Parry, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “On behalf of Prevent Blindness America and our affiliates across the country, I would like to thank VSP for its strong commitment to providing thousands of children with the eyecare they need. We are proud to be a trusted partner of VSP to help prevent and correct significant vision impairment, as in Michelle’s case, as well as to help our children succeed in the classroom through proper vision and eye care.”

For more information about Sight for Students and other VSP charitable programs, including Spanish translated materials, please visit www.vsp.com/community.

###

About VSP Global

VSP Global includes VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 56 million members; Marchon Eyewear Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity/Officemate which offer innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; VSP Labs, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.  

Since 1997, VSP has provided more than 617,000 low-income, uninsured children with free eyecare. Through relationships including those with the American Diabetes Association and Prevent Blindness America, VSP promotes the importance of annual eye exams for maintaining eye health and overall wellness.

Download the VSP press release.