First-ever Minnesota Sight Day delivers eyeglasses to folks of all ages [Photo Essay]
Approximately 1 in 4 children living in poverty has unmet vision needs. This is primarily due to many families living in poverty who sometimes lack access to essential vision screenings, treatment, and eyewear that can address these conditions and help children reach their true potential in school and life. Helen Keller Intl’s US Vision team helps to eliminate the primary barriers to vision care – access and expense – by partnering with schools and community-based organizations to screen people’s vision and provide eye exams and no-cost glasses for those who need them. “If you can’t see, you can’t read. If you can’t read, you can’t learn,” said Korinne Gerhart, Helen Keller Intl vision team manager. “Our goal was to create an event where students and their families could receive quality vision care and additional resources to help them feel ready and confident to enter a new school year.” Dazariah Ellis, 11, one of about 100 Minnesota Sight Day participants, first noticed trouble seeing distances “in like first grade, when I had squint to see.” Glasses helped. “I didn’t have to work my eyes as much.” Angelica and Maria Caballero-Brown “are still learning how to deal with [glasses] … and a mask,” their mother said. Both misplaced their glasses some time ago but are ready for school with new eyewear from Helen Keller and partners. Nicholas, 9, desperately needed glasses after his old pair broke a year ago. “I can only squint,” he explained. His mom agreed, telling us “he’s been having a lot of trouble in school without the glasses” due to an astigmatism in his right eye. After initial Sight Day screenings were completed, participants requiring further testing visited the VSP Eyes of Hope Mobile Eye Care Clinic, or Phillips Eye Institute’s Kirby Puckett Eye Mobile, just outside Rondo Education Center. There, full vision tests were performed, and most eyeglass prescriptions filled on the spot, adding to the 350,000 pairs of glasses Helen Keller has provided to Americans who’ve needed them over the past 30 years. One prescription was for German Benedicto Zuniga Zapata, 72, who is blind in his left eye. He lost his glasses two years ago and has been making do ever since. His new eyewear will help until he can have eye surgery. When Daniyah Gulley, 9, donned her new purple glasses for the first time, she exclaimed “Yessssssss!,” then grabbed and read a piece of paper, just because she could see it.
At the first-ever Minnesota Sight Day, Helen Keller Intl partnered with
Saint Paul Public Schools, VSP Global, Lions KidSight, and Phillips Eye Institute to deliver eye screenings and exams, new prescription glasses, and eyewear care tips to nearly 100 children and adults.
Thanks to our global community of donors,
Helen Keller’s US Vision team continues to reach children and adults who otherwise lack access to care through school- and community-based events like these. reach more than 2.1 million individuals to date. Thank you for helping us