Vision Service Plan’s Sight for Students
Program Targets Children with
Undetected Eye Problems.
Promise Bulletin #51 3, March 2005
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According to the
Eye Care Council, 20
percent of children entering kindergarten have undetected vision
conditions that could hinder their ability to read and learn.
By age 10, this percentage increases by 25 percent and more than
30 percent by age 15. In an effort to reverse these startling
Vision Service Plan (VSP) will attempt to help more than
50,000 kids across the nation receive quality eye care this year
Sight for Students program.
Started in 1997, the program offers free eye exams and eyewear
to low-income children from kindergarten through high school.
To date, Sight for Students has provided more than 290,000
low-income/uninsured children with these free eye care services,
a contribution to America’s youth worth over $54 million. The
Sight for Students program enables children to get the most out
of educational and sports participation by simply making sure
they have their basic health needs met,” said Roger Valine,
President and CEO of VSP. “Children deserve every opportunity
to succeed, and giving the gift of good vision is a way we can
help them achieve their potential.”
Here’s how it works: Sight for Students gift certificates are
delivered through a network of community partners who work
directly with children. VSP relies on these partners to
identify children with potential vision problems and determine
if a child meets the eligibility requirements of the program.
The community partners participating in Sight for Students
include: YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Head
Start, National Association of School Nurses, National
Association of Community Health Centers and the American
Optometric Association. Several other regional partners also
participate including: Prevent Blindness America, state
optometric associations, the National Council of LaRaza and
Communities in Schools.
To help instruct children about their eyes and proper eye care,
VSP has also created an interactive classroom toolkit as part of
the Sight for Students program. Designed in cooperation with
Explorit Science Center and the
National Eye Institute, the tool kit informs teachers about
the signs and symptoms of vision problems. Armed with this
information, the teachers can help parents detect students who
struggle in the classroom due to vision problems. “One of the
best features about it is that it provides teachers with fun,
interactive activities that enable the children to understand
the importance of vision and good health,” said Pam Lapinski,
community relations manager for VSP.
After distributing the tool kit, teachers were more aware of
their student’s vision. Sometimes teachers even identified kids
with vision problems from the listed signs and symptoms in the
tool kit; the children were then sent to the school nurse and
eventually referred to a doctor.
To find out more about VSP’s Sight for Students Program, or to
obtain assistance in finding a community partner, please call
1-888-290-4964 or visit online at
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