Health

“See to Succeed” examinations offer glimpse of Houston vision mission

Houston Health Foundation's program provides free glasses to nearly 11,000 children annually


By Cindy George | November 5, 2018

UPDATE (December 21, 2018): The pupils can see clearly now. The glasses have come.

Francisco Perez, 9, receives new glasses during a “See to Succeed” distribution at Aldine ISD’s Black Elementary on Nov. 28, 2018.

A few weeks after boarding Aldine ISD buses to a “See to Succeed” examination day, Black Elementary students were summoned to their school cafeteria to receive the frames they selected with their personal prescriptions in the lenses.

“I’m going to go outside wearing my glasses,” exclaimed 9-year-old Francisco Perez. “I can do my homework and I can play with my friends.”

Fifth-grader Claire Belony, who helped the school nurse and an assistant organize trays and distribute glasses, said she was grateful for better sight.

“I am happy for my new glasses. I can see very well and I am excited to use them every day,” the 10-year-old said, adding that words were “bright” and objects, now, were “sharp.”

After wearing a pink pair that replaced a broken set of beloved black frames, her smile expressed another underlying satisfaction beyond vision and an early holiday present. Claire is also glad to be wearing black glasses again, she said, which better suits her style and personality.

“See to Succeed” seeks contributions to continue serving children in need. Visit https://houstonhealthfoundation.org/donate to provide the gift of a free eye exam or pair of glasses.

 

Colorful spectacles waited in trays and bins for throngs of windbreaker-wrapped students who arrived on school buses this month for a two-hour testing odyssey that will lead them to better vision.

Inside the Aldine Independent School District Child Nutrition Center, dozens of professionals were ready with the credentials and technology to assess nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, colorblindness and a host of eye diseases.

Walmart optician Dawn King, left, and Walmart optical manager Kristina Auzston, right, wait for a reaction as Francisco Perez tries on a pair of glasses during “See to Succeed” at the Aldine ISD Child Nutrition Center on Nov. 2, 2018.

This mission, to ensure Houston-area children have access to vision correction to facilitate learning, is a signature program of the Houston Health Department‘s nonprofit arm—Houston Health Foundation.

The process has two parts: An extensive examination where each child rotates through a dozen assessment stations to determine a vision prescription and choose a frame, followed by delivery of the completed glasses a few weeks later.

On Nov. 2, 2018, 300 Aldine ISD students went through the evaluation, then chose from an array of spectacles—tiny to hulking, cat eye to angular, jet black to graduated rainbow colors—that fit their faces, preferences and personalities. Some, like 10-year-old Claire Belony in the video above, receive current prescriptions. In her case, the bubblegum pink glasses she’s now wearing will be replaced by larger black frames she can grow into and see through better. They also look like a previous pair that she hated to lose when they broke.

More than 100 students from Black Elementary were evaluated; when they receive their glasses, TMC News will update this story with the results.

“See to Succeed” was established in 2011 for Houston-area children 6 to 18 who have failed vision screenings but have been unable to access services recommended by their schools. The Houston Health Foundation in collaboration with the Houston Health Department chose to address sight because of its profound impact on academic achievement. According to the foundation, children with corrected vision have improved grades and school attendance with fewer discipline issues.




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