When one Brumby Elementary School student put on his new glasses, he started to cry. The first thing he said was, ‘I can see! I can really see!’”
About 400 students at Brumby and Smyrna Elementary School recently stepped into a 45-foot mobile eye clinic provided by VSP Vision Care where members of the Georgia Optometric Association gave the students comprehensive eye exams. After their exams, those students who needed glasses were able to pick out their new frames and test them out in the classroom on the very same day. The exam and glasses were provided at no cost. The Georgia Optometric Association donated their services to provide the free eye exams to selected low-income, uninsured, or underinsured students at the schools.
“Many of our students need eyewear, and they are just not able to get it,” explained Deirdra Milligan, a Brumby school counselor who helped arrange for the visiting eye clinic to come to Brumby. “For the students to be able to get a fully comprehensive eye exam, for them to be able to pick out glasses, and to get their glasses makes a huge impact on their ability to be able to pay attention in class and to focus. It is marvelous.”
Parent volunteer Rita Shoneye knows firsthand the difference that glasses can make for a child. She took her son for a routine eye exam a few years ago. She didn’t know her son, Tomi, was having vision problems. However, after the doctor outfitted him with glasses, she saw an improvement in her son’s writing. Tomi also told his mom that he was able to see much clearer thanks to his new glasses.
“I encourage every parent to get their children’s eyes checked because you never know,” Shoneye advised. “There could be something wrong with their eyes, and it could be affecting their performance in class.”
According to the Georgia Optometric Association, one in four school-aged children in the United States has an undetected vision problem.
Brumby fifth grader Noah has worn glasses in the past but didn’t have any glasses when he had the opportunity to have a checkup in the mobile eye clinic. He picked out a new pair of glasses in his favorite color, blue, and was happy to model them.
“[Glasses] help me in school to look closer at the board to see the questions,” Noah added.
Students who need glasses but don’t have them are more likely to become distracted in class, according to Brumby’s school counselor.
“Some students may go an entire school year not being able to see because their parents are not able to provide them [with glasses],” Milligan said.
So, Milligan was very excited when the Georgia Optometric Association contacted her about bringing the mobile vision clinic. She wasn’t the only one grateful for the free eye exams.
“I just want to say thank you to the Georgia Optometric Association, VSP, and Brumby Elementary for bringing this program to the school. It is really wonderful, and I appreciate it,” said Shoneye, whose son now has an extra pair of glasses thanks to the free eye event.