Students at seven school districts in New York State will have access to free eye exams and glasses this month.
The state Education Department is coordinating with local volunteer optometrists, while VSP Global will donate eyeglasses. The state said one in four school-age children has a vision disorder, which impacts the ability to properly learn.
“Not being able to see the letters on a page can hinder students’ ability to learn,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “For some families in New York, eye exams and corrective eyewear is simply unaffordable. That is why we worked with the State Assembly and Senate to highlight this critical issue. We thank VSP and the licensed eye care professionals who donated resources and time to make these free exams possible.”
In June 2017, the Assembly and Senate passed resolutions proclaiming October 2017 as School Vision Health Month to raise awareness about providing accessible visual care and resources to those who are in need.
Free eye exams will be available Wednesday to students at Wales Primary School in East Aurora, Thursday at Prospect Elementary School in Salamanca, Friday at Seneca Intermediate School in Salamanca, Oct. 10 at Minoa Elementary School in Minoa, Oct. 11 in the Waverly Central School District, Oct. 13 in the Northern Adirondack Central School District in Ellenburg and Oct. 16 at the Fort Edward Union Free School District.
Approximately two weeks after the eye exam, local ophthalmic dispensers will volunteer their time at the schools delivering the selected frames and providing the necessary fittings for the children.
Education officials are working in partnership with the New York State Optometric Association, VSP Global and the New York State Society of Opticians in recognition of School Vision Health Month.