‘Give Kids Sight Day’ Provides Free Eyecare to 1,100 Children

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PHILADELPHIA— Visionworks teamed up with Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Wills Eye Hospital, Eagles Youth Partnership, Thomas Jefferson University and the First Hospital Foundation to provide free eyecare to 1,100 uninsured and underinsured children during the fifth annual “Give Kids Sight Day” on Saturday, April 12. In addition to the eye exams provided by ophthalmologists from Wills Eye Hospital, 616 of those children were found to need glasses and will be receiving two free pairs each from Visionworks. “That means 1,232 pairs of glasses will be made, since each child receives two pairs,” a Visionworks spokesperson told VMail. Visionworks is a wholly owned subsidiary of HVHC, Inc., which is a division of insurance giant Highmark Inc.

About 15 Philadelphia-area Visionworks employees volunteered by operating the autorefractors and fitting children with frames. In addition, volunteers at the HVHC lab in Latham, N.Y., as well as the manufacturing facility in Newtown Square, Pa., were on site all day Saturday to process prescriptions and begin manufacturing the glasses, which will be delivered to each child in less than two weeks.

“One of the many challenges uninsured families face is that even if they are able to receive vision care, they cannot afford eyewear for their children who need glasses. Because we believe every child deserves healthy sight, we are proud to partner with these esteemed Philadelphia organizations to help meet this important need in the community,” said Jim Eisen, president of Visionworks.

“Eighty percent of learning in school is visual. If we can improve a child’s vision we can enhance their learning,” said Eagles Youth Partnership executive director Sarah Martinez-Helfman. “Eagles Youth Partnership is proud to be a part of such an amazing volunteer-run day. We've been providing vision care to children for the past 18 years through our Eagles Eye Mobile program, but there are so many more children who need the care. Give Kids Sight Day is for them.”