All of these children got new glasses made in their prescription as Essilor Labs of America hosted its third annual Vision Event in the region on Thursday. The latest event was held at Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church.
This is the second time in those three years that the event has been held at the church. Last year, the event was held in Unicoi County.
The school system’s health professionals screened the students for vision problems before the event and 176 students in grades pre-K through 12 were transported to the event for a free exam by an optometrist.
A team made up of Essilor employees, Hampton High School students, local volunteers and four local optometrists: Dr. David Mills, Dr. Tammy Jones, Dr. Brook Jones-Cannon and Dr. Cham McMillan volunteered to participate in the event with the mission to “improve lives by improving sight.”
Mikki Daniel, regional operations director of Southern Optical in Piney Flats, said Essilor of America founded the Essilor Vision Foundation in 2007. She said the foundation “is committed to raising awareness about the importance of good vision and is focused on a strong social purpose to improve health and education. According to Essilor's website, 80% of what a child learns is done through their eyes. One in four children has a vision problem that affects their ability to learn.”
The Essilor Vision Foundation is committed to eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences and to providing underprivileged people the opportunity to live a better life through better sight.
Daniel said that for some of the children who came to the vision event on Thursday it was “the first time in their whole lives they will see clearly.”
The commitment to better vision goes even further, providing needy children with free glasses in their prescription. She said the optometrists found two or three students who may have more serious vision problems.
She said cases where the families of the children have no insurance will be worked out with local ophthalmologists to see the children.