SOURCE: Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International

September 29, 2015 03:00 ET

Clear Vision for Newark Students

Helen Keller International and 39DollarGlasses.com Help Make Clear Vision Part of Back to School Agenda for Newark-Area Students in Need; Partnership Provides Vision Screenings and New Prescription Eyeglasses for Newark-Area Students in Need

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwired - September 29, 2015) - Helen Keller International (HKI) is pleased to announce its continued partnership with 39DollarGlasses.comin delivering critical vision services Newark-area students in need in the new school year.

As part of an ongoing partnership, this year the Long Island-based retailer will donate approximately 1,700 pairs of new prescription eyeglasses to HKI's ChildSight® programs in the US. The New Jersey program expects to perform more than 6,000 vision screenings and provide 1,200 pairs of glasses for students in need this school year.

In Newark, where the majority of ChildSight New Jersey services are delivered, 44% of children live in poverty -- almost triple the statewide child poverty rate of 15% and an increase of 26% since 2008 -- and nearly three-quarters of all children are considered low-income. Research has shown that Black, Hispanic and multiracial children are 2 to 3 times more likely than white children to have unmet vision care needs. One of the most common reasons given for not taking children to the eye doctor is the cost of care.

In addition, on World Sight Day, Thursday, October 8th, members of the 39DollarGlasses team will volunteer with ChildSight at Ridge Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, in providing vision screenings for students. That day, ChildSight will visit the school with a licensed optometrist to conduct refraction assessments for students in grades 4-8 and prescribe eyeglasses for children who need them. The 39DollarGlasses volunteers will assist in this process, including helping children pick out their new eyeglasses.

"39DollarGlasses is proud to support Helen Keller International's ChildSight program. The glasses we donate are of the same quality that we sell, so we are especially excited for the chance to participate in this special opportunity," said Dr. Marc Weinstein, Founder and CEO of 39DollarGlasses.com. "As doctors we know all too well that uncorrected vision problems are especially impactful for children, leaving them at great risk for missing out on potential academic success and important stages of social development."

ChildSight goes directly into schools in high poverty communities and conducts free vision screenings, refraction assessments with a licensed optometrist, and free prescription eyeglasses for children who need them. Students select their own frames from an assortment of fashionable colors and styles and the new glasses are delivered to the school in about two weeks. The program is also designed to identify students in need of a full eye examination due to potentially more serious conditions, and provides them with a referral to our ophthalmological partners at low or no cost to families. Since 1996 more than 173,000 New Jersey students have received free vision service through the ChildSight program.

"For nearly 20 years ChildSight remains dedicated to making a positive and significant impact on thousands of New Jersey children and families who would otherwise needlessly struggle with untreated vision disorders," said Kindal Beckley, Program Manager for ChildSight New Jersey, who is also a Newark native and longtime Newark resident. "Our shared commitment with 39DollarGlasses will allow us to continue our work in meeting the high level of need for vision care among children in the Newark area and address the barriers that low-income families face in receiving the vision care they need."

Many children in the United States are affected by vision disorders like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Correctly prescribed eyeglasses are a simple, cost-effective solution to common vision disorders such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Yet recent research indicates that one in four parents has never brought their child for an eye exam. According to Prevent Blindness America, vision disorders disproportionately affect urban minority youth and African-American children are six-times more likely to develop astigmatism than white children. Latino children also face an increased risk for vision disorders, yet are the least likely to receive a vision screening. One of the most common reasons given for not taking children to the eye doctor is the cost of care.

Without clear vision, children struggle to read, to see the board, and to engage with their teachers and classmates. Poor vision ultimately isolates children, delays their learning, and places them at risk of dropping out. All because a simple need went unmet.

In 2015, 96% of NJ teachers we surveyed saw an improvement in class participation in those students who received eyeglasses from ChildSight. One teacher remarked: "This program made wearing glasses something considered 'cool.' The students who received them were more confident in class and participated more than usual."

About ChildSight®

ChildSight®, a program of Helen Keller International, brings free vision care services and prescription eyeglasses to children in underserved communities in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Ohio. The program bridges the gap for children in critical economic need by eliminating the two primary barriers to vision care services: 1) access to screening and assessment and 2) prohibitive expense. We go directly into schools with a licensed consulting optometrist to provide vision screenings, refractions, prescription eyeglasses and ophthalmological referrals. The students we serve live within 200% of the poverty level and have extremely limited access to basic health or vision care services. We select schools based on demonstrated need, using criteria such as high student poverty levels, a history of high eyeglass distribution rates (if ChildSight has previously serviced the school) and recommendations from the school districts. Learn more at www.hki.org/childsight.

About Helen Keller International

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health, and nutrition. Visit www.hki.org for more information.

About 39DollarGlasses.com

39DollarGlasses.comwas developed by eye doctors to create an inexpensive method for people to acquire high-quality, finished prescription eyeglasses. From their experience in both private offices and retail establishments, the founders decided they could provide this service for people inexpensively, bypassing expensive retail establishments. We use the same high-quality materials, but can offer them at a high discount because of our high volume, since we don't have the additional overhead constraints (such as retail rent space, behind-the-counter employees, and expensive displays) that your doctor's office or optical must overcome. Since operating this website is much less expensive than a typical retail establishment, we are able to pass these savings on to the general public.

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