Many adults and seniors in North America suffer due to a lack of affordable eye care, but their inability to get screenings and treatment is just the tip of the iceberg of this vision care crisis.
The outcome for children whose parents can’t afford eye care is especially grim as it directly impacts their education and future. Approximately “12.1 million school-age children suffer from vision problems, and only one in three children in the United States has received eye care services before age six.”
Untreated vision problems in children can lead to “learning difficulties, personality and behavioral developmental issues, adjustment problems in school,” and in some cases, even blindness. Children who unknowingly need vision correction are sometimes assumed to have learning disabilities when all they need is prescription glasses. In fact, 40% of kids diagnosed with learning disabilities in the U.S. have vision issues.
Having their children undergo comprehensive eye exams is one essential way parents can help assure the success of their kids in school, and support the fulfillment of their potential. And yet, the cost of such screenings and the follow-up vision care they can lead to are significant.
It is estimated that “the economic costs of children’s vision disorders amount to $10 billion annually in the United States, taking into account the costs of medical care, vision aids and devices, caregivers, special education, vision screening programs, federal assistance programs and quality of life losses.”
At Tzu Chi, we hold children’s wellbeing close to heart, and our Mobile Vision Care program offers free vision screenings and free prescription glasses to children from low-income, underserved, and underprivileged families. A pair of free prescription glasses for a child with vision problems can set them on the path to the bright and successful future they deserve.
Please support our charity medical mission and help protect the eyesight of children, because they are our future.