By Kristin Rover
Students at Batavia Local School District had an opportunity to receive free eyeglasses Oct. 16 thanks to the Mobile Eyecare Clinic “Eyenstein” that rolled up to the middle school.
The mobile clinic is a part of VSP Mobile Eyes, which is a program that was created during relief efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, according to Rhonda Wilson, marketing manager for VSP Vision Care.
“When we aren’t responding to a disaster, we are participating in community outreach events,” Wilson said.
Wilson said they organize free eye exams and provide free glasses for children and adults in need.
“Our mobile clinics are furnished with state-of-the-art equipment to provide full eye exams,” Wilson said.
Wilson said their partnering organizations include ECP Network, an organization that offers independent eye care providers; Opticare Vision Center, a optometry practice in the Cincinnati area; Transitions Optical, a lens manufacturer; Diversified, a optical laboratory helping to organize visits to local schools; and more.
Many of the staff members from the companies volunteer their time to work at the mobile clinic.
The clinic is visiting local schools Oct. 15-17 in Dayton and Batavia, Oh. and Newport, Ky.
Cathy Meyer, the nurse for Batavia Local School District, said she was contacted about having the mobile clinic make a stop at the district.
Meyer said she knew there was a need based on students who she has been working with at the district.
“There were 15 kids at the elementary school who I knew would qualify,” Meyer said about students receiving free glasses. “When I told one of the mothers she started crying saying she didn’t know how she was going to do it.”
Meyer said that that mother is one of many who may not be able to afford glasses for her child.
“We have close to 25 percent of children at the elementary school that have glasses,” Meyer said.
Meyer said there are many other students who may need glasses, and there are even some students who pretend they don’t need glasses because they are afraid it will be a burden on their parents.
Meyer said parents at the elementary school and middle school were asked to fill out forms to determine if their children would qualify to receive glasses, and students were given an eye exam to determine if they needed glasses.
Dr. Josiah Young, an optometrist with Opticare Vision Centers, said he is glad to volunteer his time to help children who need glasses.
“There is a great need,” Young said. “It is a chance to give back doing what I like to do.”
Young said they are definitely finding that the statistic “one in four children needs glasses” is true since they have been visiting schools in the community.
Maggie Sally, the mother of a student receiving glasses, said her daughter, Kortney, is legally blind in one eye.
“It’s great,” Sally said about being able to get her daughter glasses. “I am glad they offer this.”
Meyer said this is the first year that the school district has been able to have the Mobile Eyecare Clinic.
“I am hoping they come back next year,” Meyer said.
For more information about the Mobile Eyecare Clinic, visit www.eyedidntknowthat.info.