Few of us appreciate the ability to see clearly – unless or until we can’t.
Think about how you would feel if everyone around you could see better than you, even kids whose eyes were just as bad as yours, but who can afford eye tests and glasses.
You would feel let down: by nature and genetics, by your teachers who don’t seem to be able to help you, by schools that care more about sports than whether a student can see, by school boards that pay for their pet projects but not for comprehensive vision testing, by politicians who don’t see any upside to taking on the vision lobby. (Yes, there is a vision lobby, and they are as self-serving as most political organizations that put their own self-interest ahead of the general public.)
Just imagine that you’re a student in 5th grade and your glasses break. Your family can’t afford new glasses.
You can’t easily read what’s on the blackboard anymore.
And when you look around your classroom, none of the other kids seem to be plagued by the same obstacles. In fact, whether they wear glasses or not, they can all read what’s on the blackboard when the teacher calls on them. Teachers feel bad – they know what’s going on, but they’re powerless to help, so they stop calling on you.
It begins to affect your self-esteem. It certainly affects your ability to learn.
And this goes on for years. And years. And years.
You feel alone, abandoned.
The scary thing is, you’re not alone.
According to the American Optometric Association, “With an estimated 75 to 90 percent of all classroom learning coming to students via the visual pathways, nearly all tasks a child is asked to perform in the classroom depend on good visual skills…” (1)
The Vision Council of America estimates that 25% of school-age children suffer from vision problems that could have been addressed or eliminated if appropriate screening and follow-up had been in place upon entry to school (2), a figure that is echoed by the American Optometric Association, which says “25 percent of school-aged children have undiagnosed eye problems that inhibit their ability to read properly or cause fatigue, among other effects.” (3)
Now, what if there were simple, convenient, affordable eye exams that could be conducted in the classroom?
It could change everything.
It did for Jania Williams, the real student behind our example above. Her glasses broke in 2009, and, as she says in this video, “I couldn’t see from a distance. It was bad. My eyesight is bad.”
This year, as a Senior at New Visions High School for Humanities II in the Bronx, Jania finally got glasses after 7 years, thanks to the efforts of Smart Vision Labs.
We’re on a mission to help as many students see as possible.
We’re starting in our own back yard, but we’re looking for other schools and school districts around the country who want to help their students see clearly and succeed in school.
We’re putting our technology where the problem is because school boards and politicians and lobbying groups are failing our kids, turning a blind eye to the issue, ignoring students who just want to have the same opportunities as kids with better eyesight or more money.
We are proud to have helped Jania.
It’s time to help the rest of the country see more clearly.
Find out more at www.smartvisionlabs.com.
Now’s the Time to Schedule a Back-to-School Eye Exam for Your Children
Case Study: The Importance of School Vision Screenings
In the Field with Dr. Tracy Matchinski
Glasses provide 16-year-old Guatemalan with another chance at an education