Bus 52 Presents: Eye Care For Kids
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Published on Jun 7, 2012
"Not being able to see what the teacher is writing on the board, not being able to read and follow along ... with what the assignment is" can cause a child to fall behind as well as hindering their self-confidence.
Children across the country are at risk of falling behind in school because of one, very easily-solved problem: poor eyesight. Eye Care For Kids, was founded in 2001 by Joseph Carbone to fix exactly this.
During many years of treating patients in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carbone, a board certified optician, saw many children who were prevented from getting the eye glasses they desperately needed because their parents were unable to pay for them.
Eye Care For Kids's role is to "provide professional eye care to underserved children and their families," and in the years since their foundation, they have seen 40,000 individual and helped them get "free or very low-cost eye care."
These high patient numbers were far more than Carbone was expecting to see when he created the non-profit. The importance of eye care and the difference that it can make to children is evident from the high numbers of visitors they receive each year.
While poor eyesight is a problem that can be solved by an eye exam and a pair of glasses, if the children are unable to access that simple care, they can be greatly affected and fall behind in school.
Mark Shurtleff, Attorney General of Utah explains that "the statistics are very clear that if you can get a kid to be able to see, they start doing better in school, they have higher self-esteem." These are all aspects of helping children stay in school and gain access to better jobs.
Eye Care For Kids is a help not only to the children. It provides support to the parents who do not know their children need glasses or who are unable to pay for them even if they are needed.
Linda Woolf, a mother whose son and daughter have both been outfitted with glasses by Eye Care For Kids says that "it's invaluable for me, when I don't feel like I'm giving them what I should be giving them, to have someone help me do that."
Perhaps the most important and innovative part of Eye Care For Kids is their mobile clinic, aptly named See-More. The trailer is equipped with everything that might be needed for a routine eye check-up and more.
Carbone explains that See-More allows them to take the eye care directly to the children who are in remote parts of the state. "We do vision screening, visual analysis, we do eye examinations and they can pick out their glasses right there."
Shurtleff says that the mobile clinic is "particularly important in Reservations ... where they seem always to be the last ones to get the benefit of what states and counties and cities and groups have to offer."
Mark Mattice, a volunteer at Eye Care For Kids explains that "the reward is sitting there with the kids, the excitement they have when they can see."
"It takes very little to change the life of a child," says Carbone, and he has proven that by helping so many children in such a simple but impactful way. Eye Care For Kids is not only providing free eye care, it is helping children to perform at their best in school and in so doing, creating a better foundation for their futures.
To learn more about Eye Care for Kids, please visit their website (http://www.eyecare4kids.org/), Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/eyecare4kids), or follow them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/eyecare4kids).
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