|See to Succeed, a Houston Health Department program helping address the critical need for vision care by providing free eye exams and eyeglasses to underserved children, reached a milestone Friday. The program served its 100,000th child from the Houston area.
Each year, thousands of children with no access to vision care receive the help they need to succeed in school.
The program serves school children ages 6 to 18 from 16 Houston-area school districts and charter schools. The vision clinic this week provided exams for children from the Pasadena Independent School District.
“Most of these children will feel successful once they receive their much-needed prescription glasses. It will help them succeed in school and more importantly, in life,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of the Houston Health Department. “I want to thank the Houston Health Foundation and its board of directors for their continued commitment to helping this program thrive. Thank you to the entire See to Succeed team for the great work and long hours they put in with every clinic they provide at schools all over the Houston area.”
Each year, more than 40,000 children are diagnosed with a vision issue in the Houston region and half of the cases go unresolved. Unaddressed childhood vision disorders hinder development, social interactions, self-esteem and school performance, especially in reading. Students unable to read at-grade level are far more likely to drop out of school. People who had unresolved vision problems as children tend to earn 50% less annually upon entering the workforce.
See to Succeed, launched by the health department in 2011, is a public-private partnership supported by the Houston Health Foundation.
“Eleven years ago, See to Succeed partners, led by the Houston Health Department, recognized the magnitude of unresolved vision deficiencies among Houston’s youth and resolved to do something about it,” said Robin Mansur, president and CEO of the Houston Health Foundation. “Serving 100,000 children only proves how beneficial and much needed this program is to the community. Thank you to all our team, donors and partners for their support. We look forward to building this program so that all children in Houston are assured the chance to succeed in school with good vision.”
The program is supported by the University of Houston College of Optometry, Berkeley Eye Center, Essilor Vision Foundation, San Jacinto College Eye Technology Program, Access Health and numerous volunteer and philanthropic organizations.
The health department and partners conduct week-long vision clinics throughout the school year. Hundreds of students rotate through various stations to receive comprehensive diagnostic eye exams. The last station offers a variety of frames for students to try on and select. The program delivers free eyeglasses to the schools a few weeks after the vision clinics.
For more information about See to Succeed, visit houstonhealth.org or houstonhealthfoundation.org.