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For Some Students, Back-to-School Challenges Include Being Able to See Clearly

Students around the country are experiencing an unprecedented back-to-school season. Whether they are in brick-and-mortar classrooms or studying virtually, students and their parents are facing new challenges at every turn.

One thing all students have in common – wherever they started school this year – is the need to be able to see clearly enough to learn. The American Optometric Association (AOA) says one in four school-age children in the U.S. has an undiagnosed vision care problem. Because 80% of learning is accomplished visually for children, it can become a challenge for students with vision problems to achieve their full potential in school and in life.

Taking care of their children and their eyesight is a priority for Pearle Vision’s target consumer, who we refer to as the chief health officer. This consumer is the primary healthcare decisionmaker in their household. Pearle Vision helps to educate parents about the importance of an annual eye exam and the link between clear vision and success in school.

Learning Is Easy As ABSee

In 2019, Pearle Vision and OneSight, a global vision care nonprofit, partnered to form ABSee. The two organizations share understanding about how critical access to quality eye care is to help children unlock their true potential and fulfill their dreams.

ABSee, along with volunteers from Pearle Vision and support from OneSight, has brought vision care clinics to schools, where students’ eyesight is tested and optometrists perform eye exams on board a state-of-the-art mobile vision unit. The need at ABSee clinics has been documented to be much higher than the 25% estimated by AOA because the schools are in lower socioeconomic communities, which are often underserved.

For example, at a clinic last spring in Dallas at the Academy of Dallas Charter School’s Vernon Campus, 76% of the 200 students screened needed glasses. Ninety-nine children received their first pair of glasses at the Dallas clinic. They were able to choose their frames, have new glasses made and take them home the same day, all at no charge. Eight students were referred for follow-up care.  

“We know that getting a pair of glasses can be life-changing for a child with a vision problem,” says Alex Wilkes, general manager of Pearle Vision. “We are committed to ensuring that all children, especially those with financial need, have access to quality eye care and corrective eyewear.”

Before the pandemic took hold in the U.S. last spring, closing schools and businesses, ABSee clinics were held in Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas. Through those clinics, ABSee provided glasses to nearly 900 students at no cost to them. For those students, going back to school this fall was a little less challenging than it would have been before they received their new glasses.

Because “Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle” is more than a slogan for Pearle Vision. It’s a commitment.  


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