Health & Well-Being
half Helen Foundation
Optical Prime: transforming vision services for children in poverty
half Helen Foundation (hH) has provided over 45,000 vision screenings for children in low-income schools. Vision impairment is the single most prevalent disabling condition among children. It’s not enough to identify a vision problem; 40% of children who fail a vision screening never see an eye doctor due to unmanageable cost or lack of transportation. In Austin alone, over 19,000 children are at risk of not receiving the appropriate follow up care after failing a vision screening. Uncorrected vision issues are associated with reading problems, poor attention, lower grades, lower test scores in reading and math, and can impact a child’s social, cognitive, and emotional development. Poor vision, education, and poverty are inextricably linked. hH is expanding its vision screening program to serve 10,000 children. Children that fail their vision screening will be offered a free eye exam and glasses at their school this fall, eliminating the two most common barriers to care. Impact Austin funds will help pay for the cost of a state-of-the-art grinder to allow hH to operate this portable, school based optometry clinic (not just screenings) and provide free eyeglasses on site. It will also fund the hiring of a part-time optician.