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Hundreds of Uninsured Georgia School Children to Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses

Thursday, December 3, 2009 General News J E 4
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ATLANTA, Dec. 2 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Inc. (BCBSGa), OneSight®, a Luxottica Group Foundation, and Radio Disney have teamed to bring the OneSight Vision Van, "SeeMore" to Georgia from Tuesday, Dec. 1 through Thursday, Dec. 3. Henry County, Clayton County and Butts County Schools pre-selected 300 students from kindergarten through high school based on their financial and vision needs to receive free vision care, including full vision exams and new eyewear.

Held at the Luxottica Retail Distribution Center (100 Greenwood Industrial Pkwy, McDonough, GA 30253), local doctors, community partners, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia associates, as well as employees from LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical will provide services and assistance during clinic hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily). In addition, the Radio Disney AM 590 Road Crew will lead the students in exercises, sing-a-longs and games while they wait for their eye exams and their glasses.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Bright Futures, 3rd Edition, school-aged children should be evaluated for visual difficulties at their annual visit and formally screened according to the AAP's recommended schedule. In addition, the American Public Health Association (APHA) recently reported that one in four children in kindergarten through sixth grade has visual disabilities that affect their ability to learn. Some studies indicate that 80 percent of learning in children occurs visually; yet 86 percent of children do not receive a vision exam during these formative years.

"This collaborative effort to bring the Vision Van to the greater Atlanta area will help make a meaningful difference in the lives of children who might not otherwise have had their vision needs met," said Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGa. "Our hope is that this service will provide these children with a better opportunity to live life to the fullest."

"OneSight provides important opportunities through clear vision that enable children to succeed in school and ultimately, in life," said Jane Walters, OneSight captain. "We have seen many cases where a pair of glasses has made the difference in helping a child accomplish greater scholastic success or simply see clearly for the first time. Watching a child's face light up as the world comes into focus is something I will never forget."

"An eye exam is one of the best forms of preventative medicine today. Good vision health is connected to overall health and well-being. Supporting the Vision Van helps these children to more clearly experience the world around them," said Jeff Spahr, staff vice president, Vision and Voluntary Services for BCBSGa.

In addition to serving children in communities throughout the country with the Vision Van, OneSight also performs two-week Global Clinics designed to hand-deliver eye exams and recycled, donated eyewear to underprivileged individuals in developing countries. To date, nearly 3 million people have been helped during Global Clinics.

About OneSight

OneSight, a Luxottica Group Foundation and a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation, is a family of charitable programs dedicated to improving vision for those in need worldwide through outreach, research and education. OneSight's outreach programs include the hand-delivery of vision care and eyewear to those in need. Since 1986, OneSight outreach efforts have helped more than seven million people around the world see more clearly, and has granted millions of dollars towards vision preservation and thousands of dollars in scholarships to students pursuing a degree in Optometry. Luxottica Group (a global leader in eyewear manufacturing, distribution and retail) employees, Luxottica-affiliated and independent doctors, vendors, donors and other charitable partners worldwide, work together to give the gift of sight to those in need. Luxottica Group provides inspiration for OneSight and it is the foundation's main sponsor. For more information visit www.onesight.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association® . The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
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