Disadvantaged Americans with Eyesight Needs Get Help from VSP Global

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Our eyesight is something that many of us take for granted. For a child, good vision is critical to being able to succeed at school. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes. Reading, writing, chalkboard work and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily; a child's eyes are constantly being used in the classroom and at play. Sadly, in the U.S., one in four children have an undetected vision problem. Recognising this health issue, VSP Global® is helping a million American adults and children who cannot afford eyesight tests and glasses through its initiative, 'Eyes of Hope: a Million More.' This scheme will provide access to eye care to a further million more people by 2020.

The project launches this May in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where immediate and sustainable access to no-cost eye care and eyewear will be provided in 10 cities. Aside from eye-specific issues, through a comprehensive eye exam, optometrists can also detect early signs of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and even spot tumours. Since 1997, VSP Global businesses have invested nearly $175 million in products and services for people disadvantaged by income, natural disaster or distance to care.

The scheme includes gift certificates that provide no-cost eye care in a VSP doctor’s office, mobile eye care clinics and eyewear donations, and ensures that school-aged children have access to quality vision care. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, VSP developed mobile eye care clinics to provide eye care and replace lost or damaged eyewear for community members and first responders while supporting vision care providers who lost their practices.

Celebrating this milestone, VSP will also host a two-day mobile eye care clinic event at the Monarch School in San Diego to provide eye exams and glasses to both students and their family members. The Monarch School is operated by a public-private educational partnership and serves more than 300 students impacted by homelessness; and VSP has provided a service to Monarch on a semi-annual basis since 2014. More than 12 percent of residents in the San Diego metro area lack health insurance of any kind, including vision care, a figure that accounts for more than 400,000 individuals!

However, bad vision is not something affecting the States, as approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness; of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. Therefore, helping to extend this 'eyesight' conversation with a global audience, the Eyes of Hope initiative along with VSP partners and members are invited to join in the conversation, using the hashtag #MillionPossibilities, where people are encouraged to post a picture using the hashtag along with a brief personal message of how seeing clearly enables you to do something you love. Eighty percent of visual impairment is avoidable, readily treatable and/or preventable.

Photo Credit: VSP Global/3BL Media