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Community Spotlight: Dr. Tracey Needham

Article
March 16, 2020

It’s estimated that 12 million children in the U.S. need vision care, and up to half of them aren’t getting it. The In-School Eye Exam (iSee) Program provides eye exams and glasses to students in Ohio who have been identified by a school as having a vision problem and can’t get glasses due to financial challenges.

“There are a lot of barriers,” says Project Director Dr. Tracey Needham. “Kids may not have insurance, many have lost or broken their glasses and their family can’t afford another pair, or they can’t get transportation to an eye doctor’s office. Our program bypasses these barriers by going directly to schools to provide comprehensive eye exams and corrective lenses to economically and academically vulnerable students around the state.” iSee is a 2019 recipient of a $5,000 grant from the AOA Foundation’s Healthy Eyes Healthy Children grant program. Essilor Vision Foundation is the founding sponsor of this program.

iSee used the grant money to purchase equipment for school vision events. During the 2018-2019 school year, iSee gave eye exams to 250 students, 90% of whom needed glasses. Dr. Needham says there were some surprises along the way. “We’re always surprised by the number of children we see who need glasses and don’t have them. We examined a little girl with a very high prescription — a +12 – who had never complained that she could not see. After that event, we got emails from her school nurse and the OD who dispensed her glasses saying how happy this child was to have her glasses and how well she was doing.”

Learn more about AOA Foundation’s Healthy Eyes Healthy Children grant.

Learn about EVF’s Changing Life through Lenses program.

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