Vision to Learn partnership brings free eye care to Anaheim elementary students

Having difficulty concentrating on reading materials, feeling dizzy while reading, and avoiding homework and written classroom activities altogether are just some of the signs that a child may suffer with vision problems. 

Fortunately for some students, the Anaheim Elementary School District has teamed up with Vision to Learn to alleviate these common obstacles young learners may face. A school assembly was held on Wednesday, May 25 to announce the district’s official partnership with the nonprofit organization to give students the proper eye care needed to be successful in and out of the classroom. 

To kick off their collaboration, trained eye care professionals from Vision to Learn visited Sunkist Elementary School in Anaheim to assist educators, school nurses and other public health professionals in conducting vision screenings for all students. Children who did not pass the initial exam were then helped at Vision to Learn’s mobile clinics to receive eye exams and prescription glasses if necessary. 

According to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, 1 in 17 young children have vision disorders that go undiagnosed. However, children in elementary school and middle school who received prescription glasses have been proven to improve their reading scores, according to an American Journal of Ophthalmology study. 

Through this program, administration and employees at AESD hope to have the same positive effect on student success.

“We are truly fortunate to be the first school district in Orange County to be able to implement this program,” AESD Superintendent Dr. Chris Downing said. “With the exams and glasses, Vision to Learn had the foresight to provide a much-needed service that will make a huge difference in the health and academic success of thousands of our students.” 

At the assembly, 76 Sunkist Elementary students received eyeglasses free of charge while eye exams were administered to those who had missed their initial screenings. The option to participate in free eye care services hasn’t only been helpful to the students but to their families as well, including a parent at Sunkist Elementary. 

“As a mother of two who also wears eyeglasses, I know how important it is for my children to have the help they need in order to perform well academically,” Veronica Rivera said. “This program helps us parents with saving money on the exam and glasses as well. It’s a double win.” 

Sunkist students Anaheim Elementary School District

Glasses can sometimes break the bank for families, with costs reaching up to $500 for an eye exam, prescription lenses and frames. Vision to Learn’s efforts have donated over 1.5 million vision screenings and 295,000 pairs of glasses to children in need since its founding in 2012. In all, the nonprofit organization has served more than 500 communities across 14 states and Washington, D.C.

So far this year, the program has already brought eye care to 200 students at Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Ponderosa and Sunkist elementary schools. Together, AESD and Vision to Learn plan to screen at least 12,000 AESD students and provide them with prescribed eyewear throughout the 2022-23 school year.