Eye Exams on WheelsProject led by Vision To Learn, Ohio Optometric Foundation & Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
About this project.
In the communities of Appalachian Ohio, many children don’t have access to the vision exams and glasses they need. With the launch of a mobile clinic that will screen children at schools across the region, then provide eye exams and glasses to those in need, an estimated 10,000 children will receive needed vision care within three years.
Increasing access to eye care in Appalachian Ohio is vital to ensuring that our children have all the tools they need to succeed. Children with undiagnosed vision disorders may have more trouble learning and focusing, and are at risk for developing other related challenges, including headaches or behavioral issues. This creates an unnecessary obstacle for the children of Appalachian Ohio to make the highest use of educational opportunities and realize their full potential.
That’s why FAO is partnering with Vision To Learn and the Ohio Optometric Foundation to launch this mobile clinic, which will bring eye exams and access to glasses directly to the locations where children spend the most time: schools and community organizations. An optometric exam lane on wheels, the mobile clinic will travel to schools throughout the region and provide much-needed access for children to receive free exams from a licensed optometrist. Children who are prescribed glasses will get to pick out their own frames from a wide selection of colors, styles, and sizes. The glasses will be manufactured in Ohio and individually fit to each student approximately three weeks following the exam.
This programs will allow thousands of Appalachian Ohio’s children currently going without vision care to get the glasses they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond. Going forward, through a partnership with the Ohio Optometric Foundation, we are developing a continuum of care for the children of Appalachia that will last.
Our ultimate goal is to reach across our 32-county region. In our first few years, we plan to serve approximately 3,500 children annually in Appalachian Ohio across 15 counties and establish a sustainable model for vision care in the region that will serve thousands of additional children in the future.
With your help, we can raise funds to ensure children who visit the mobile clinic receive an eye exam and glasses!
Photo credit: Christa Myers.
FAO staff comments.
Optometry is a specialty that is lacking across many of Appalachian Ohio’s communities, and where quality care exists, many children in the surrounding communities still lack the financial resources needed to access that care.
We at FAO were first exposed to this challenge a number of years ago, when we supported the Harrison County Lions Club with a grant to identify children in need of vision care. The grant helped the Lions Club more accurately identify which children were in need of glasses and follow-up care, but a big challenge remained: ensuring that all children in need of follow-up care actually received it. This experience prompted FAO to begin preliminary research into children’s vision needs in Appalachian Ohio. Through that research, as well as through discussions with school nurses, we found that access to vision care presented a serious challenge across the region.
With your support we will finally be able to offer a mobile vision unit to meet this critical need across our communities.