MASON, Ohio, Aug. 14 While nutrition and childhood obesityare frequently cited as critical issues, a new survey reveals an even morestunning childhood epidemic - poor vision. According to a new survey conductedby Russell Research, 93 percent of teachers polled believe poor vision impactsa student's academic performance and 74 percent have personally observedchildren falling behind in school due to vision problems. The survey of 509kindergarten to twelfth grade teachers was fielded on behalf of Give the Giftof Sight, a foundation dedicated to providing free eye exams and glasses tothose in need in the U.S. and developing countries worldwide.
"Due to the estimated 1,200 hours teachers spend with their studentsduring each school year, they are in a unique position to observe students'ability to learn, interact with others and tackle new projects," said Dr.Edward Revelli, University of Berkeley School of Optometry, who has workedwith the Give the Gift of Sight foundation on a North American mission andassisted in the development of the survey. "As such, teachers are frequentlythe first to notice a child's vision problems."
The Impact of Poor Vision On Academic Performance
The teachers surveyed estimate that two-in-five of their students sufferfrom vision problems, more than one-third of which have not been treated.According to Dr. Revelli, this puts them at risk for academic and socialproblems.
"Poor vision has a detrimental effect on the emotional, academic andpsychological development of school aged children," said Dr. Revelli, "As aneye doctor working with and studying children's vision for over 30 years, I'veseen firsthand how the lack of proper vision can make a dramatic impact on achild's development, eventually affecting their professional success as anadult."
Need for Vision Care in the U.S.
These statistics underscore the critical need for proper vision care inthe U.S., especially among our youth. The sad reality though is that noteveryone can afford vision exams and eyeglasses. Give the Gift of Sightprovides this vital service including complete, comprehensive eye exams andeyewear free of charge to those in need.
"The Give the Gift of Sight foundation recognizes that if a child isunable to see clearly it will affect their ability to do well in school, andmay impact their future success in life," said Greg Hare, Executive Director,Give the Gift of Sight. "We believe clear vision is a basic right, not aluxury, and we are dedicated to providing free, quality eye exams and newglasses to those children in need."
Give the Gift of Sight, sponsored by Luxottica Group, provides free eyecare and eyewear to underprivileged individuals in North America and aroundthe world. In North America, The organization assists people throughchildren's clinics, traveling vision vans, community outreach and in-storegiving. Give the Gift of Sight works closely with schools across the U.S. tohelp those children cited by teachers as being in need. To date, more than 3million people have been helped by Give the Gift of Sight in North America.
Give the Gift of Sight also provides free vision care and recycled eyewearto those in need around the world through two-week missions. In 2007, Give theGift of Sight will hold 20 international missions. To date, the program hasheld over 115 missions, helping nearly two million people.
Helping Students See Clearly
Eighty eight percent of teachers surveyed believe that eye exams should beoffered for free to students who cannot afford them, 87 percent believe theyshould receive vision screenings and 80 percent think they should receive freeprescription glasses. This further emphasizes the importance of proper visioncare and the value the Give the Gift of Sight foundation affords those inneed.
"Annual eye exams are important to not only check for cle