January 25, 2016 – According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), up to 94 percent of children with reading problems have reduced visual skills. The week of January 25th, more than 800 Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) students with vision problems were given the opportunity to see, thanks to the international organization One Sight.
“One Sight is owned by Luxottica, the largest factory in the world for eyeglasses,” said Debbie Wood, Coordinator of the BCSD School Health and Neighborhood Support Program. “They fly volunteers in from all over the country to provide eye exams and eye glasses for so many of our students who can’t afford glasses, don’t have insurance, or whose parents for one reason or another are unable to get them to the eye doctor.”
One Sight partners locally with BCSD, other area school districts, and the local non-profit Advanced Center for Eye Care (ACE). They will provide eye exams and glasses to more than 1,600 students in Kern County this week. “We have seen many cases where a pair of glasses has made the difference in helping a child succeed in school,” said Justin Cave, ACE Executive Director. “Seeing a child’s face light up because they can see clearly for the first time is something I love to see.”
The improvement made by simply receiving a pair of glasses is evident in some of the stories of BCSD students. “Last year we had a second grader who was unable to read at all, and within three weeks of getting his glasses, he was above reading level just because he could see,” said Wood.
Fifth grade student Santiago Rosas says he misses a lot of what goes on at school. “I can’t see that far. It makes it really hard for me because I can’t see the letters that the teacher is writing on the board. It all looks blurry,’ he said. “I’m excited to be able to see so that I can finally see what the teacher is writing on the board.”
During Monday’s screening, the vision problems discovered varied, from undiagnosed cataracts, to blindness in one eye. “My left eye doesn’t see, so I have to close it or cover it and just use my right eye to see,” said third grade student Kaylee Jose. “I’m excited to be able to see better and see how my rainbow glasses will look on me.”
This is the third year that BCSD participates in the program. The number of students participating has increased from 78 the first year to the more than 800 in 2016. Volunteers will deliver the glasses to students this week. The District extends its gratitude to the organizations and volunteers that made this possible for our students.