According to the American Optometric Association, 61 percent of the U.S. population wears glasses or contact lenses. One out of 4 children in the U.S. has an undiagnosed vision problem signaling a vision care crisis that is affecting students’ ability to see and learn. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has identified vision disorders as the single most prevalent disabling condition among children in the United States. OneSight, a locally based organization, is trying to change those statistics one patient at a time.
Headquartered in Mason, OneSight is an independent nonprofit with the solutions, people and resources to eradicate the vision care gap for good. Its mission is to bring eye exams and glasses to the 1 in 7 people on our planet who lack access to vision care. Since the organization was founded in 1988, they have impacted more than 9 million people in 46 countries.
On average, the organization sees nearly 4,000 patients weekly thanks to charitable programming and the permanent self-sustaining vision centers OneSight has worldwide. In Ohio, it is estimated that only 1 in 7 kindergartners has an eye exam prior to entering school. Within the Greater Cincinnati area, OneSight’s focus has recently been on providing eye care services for children and their families in schools.
OneSight recently opened a new vision center located in Cincinnati. The addition of another local vision center (joining the vision centers located in the Fairfield City School District, Hamilton City School District, Oyler School and Academy of World Languages in Cincinnati) will not only help to combat those numbers but also serve more than 2,000 students in the Cincinnati area by providing comprehensive eye exams, glasses, fittings, adjustments, medical eye care and vision therapy at no cost. Clinics are held annually at local schools for more than 20,000 students, providing a “health hub” for vision screenings, fittings and glasses.
And for one local family, this service relieved a tremendous amount of stress regarding time and money.
“It’s an amazing thing,” says Tabby Duvelius-Gierhart, mother of Kiera, who attended the one-week charitable clinic in partnership with Xavier in November. The university hosted the Cincinnati clinic that drew 737 patients and prescribed 701 glasses.
Tabby also has 10-month-old twins, restricting some of the time she has to go out and about searching for the right eye services for Kiera.
“Having twin babies, we aren’t able to go out without extra hands and a plan for who is where and who is with whom,” Tabby says. “Kiera getting these glasses has helped us tremendously money- and time-wise. We truly appreciate the helping hand getting her an eye exam and glasses. Without OneSight it would have been so much harder and costly for us.”
As for Kiera, she is excited that Belle from Beauty and the Beast is on her glasses. Her mother says she enjoyed both the experience and the people who helped her. Kiera's new glasses are not only helping her to see better but are also alleviating her headaches caused by poor vision.
“By the end of this year, we will have eight vision centers across the Greater Cincinnati area providing access to more than 190,000 students and community members,” says Laura Lewis, OneSight’s director of Global Integrated Marketing. “We are committed to making a difference in our own backyard by both helping identify vision issues and by providing access to glasses to children across Cincinnati. We will also continue to provide free vision screenings to more than 20,000 Greater Cincinnati-area students annually.”
Also headquartered in Mason, Luxottica Retail’s trained volunteers are helping OneSight to achieve its goal: to close the vision care gap for good. Given the right resources and the right schedule, OneSight believes it can do so in about 30 years. It currently helps provide permanent vision care access to 20 million people worldwide. Luxottica employees volunteer to help staff OneSight’s charitable and sustainable vision care programs in the Greater Cincinnati area and around the world. Together with OneSight, Luxottica also offers the opportunity for optometry students to travel as a volunteer team to various locations throughout the world, providing comprehensive eye exams under the supervision of Luxottica Retail-affiliated doctors. From June through December, students can apply for the following year’s trip to the clinic’s global location (later announced). The 2018 OneSight clinics were held in Oaxaca, Mexico, and brought eye care to more than 7,100 patients over a two-week period. This opportunity is a partnership between OneSight, Luxottica and the National Optometric Student Association.
By the end of 2018, more than 1,400 charitable clinics will have been held, 131 self-sustaining vision centers will have been opened and 49 countries will have been touched by the incredible work OneSight and its partners are doing to provide vision care needs for people who may not have another option.
OneSight is the leading global nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing access to an eye exam and glasses to the 1.1 billion people who have no way to get them. Its proven model provides permanent access to vision care and glasses, and the organization is pioneering new ways to deliver quality vision care to the most remote communities. OneSight believes one's location and circumstances should not stand in the way of one's potential. Its goal is to create a world where lack of access to vision care is no longer a barrier to human achievement. Every donation is one step closer to making that world a reality.