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Student eyesight focus of $200,000 grant

5th Grader Santiago, tells how glasses have helped him | Photo by Vision to Learn

Presbyterian Medical Center Foundation will receive $40,000 each year for five years from The Duke Endowment for mobile vision clinics that provide free screenings, eye exams and glasses to economically disadvantaged students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

According to national non-profit Vision To Learn, which runs the clinics, about 1 in 5 children needs glasses to see the board, read a book or participate in class, but about 95% of children who attend school in low-income communities do not have the glasses they need.

Students with uncorrected vision problems often avoid reading, suffer headaches and experience difficulty focusing in class.

“We are excited to partner with The Duke Endowment and Vision To Learn to quickly remove success barriers that too many Mecklenburg County students face,” said Ann Caulkins, president of Novant Health Foundation. “While students will experience immediate benefits from this program, the long-term benefits of improved student performance and opportunity will be immeasurable for the community.”

Vision To Learn will provide the school district a program model that makes it easy for students to access eye care, beginning with vision screenings for all students in the school conducted by a school nurse, local health department staff member or by tools and staff provided by Vision To Learn. After the initial evaluation, Vision To Learn coordinates with schools to schedule one or more visits from the organization’s mobile vision clinic.