Put eyeglasses on children who can’t see clearly and you can turn their lives around. That is the aim of a terrific program called ChildSight, run by Helen Keller International, which each year screens up to 100,000 middle school and high school children in poor communities throughout the country and provides glasses to those who need them.
In New York City, the program has been expanded to serve older students in G.E.D. programs, to public schools with a high percentage of recent immigrants, and to teenagers living in homeless shelters, where the unmet need for vision services has been found to be particularly acute.
Through a longstanding partnership with The Children’s Aid Society in New York, the Helen Keller Foundation last year screened and treated more than 6,000 students in 16 low-income public schools. Noting that between 25 percent and 30 percent of students fail routine vision screening, the city recently committed $10 million over four years to fund vision screening in 130 additional community schools, with an estimated 20,000 glasses to be provided free by the eyewear company Warby Parker.