Eye Focus December 2019 - Page 23

Access to Vision Care Helps Power Essilor Canada’s Mission With 2.2 million Canadians living with uncorrected vision, including 600,000 children, Essilor Canada has committed to providing access to vision care to this population in conjunction with industry and government partners. The company’s mission of improving lives by improving sight can only be achieved if all Canadians have first pair. Since 2003, 21,067 pairs of glasses have been the clear vision they deserve. given to children by Essilor Canada through the program. The early childhood eye health and vision awareness program Eye See...Eye Learn® by the Alberta Association Over in Ontario, Essilor Canada is piloting an in-school of Optometrists (AAO) encourages parents to take their vision care program with the Ottawa–Carleton District kindergarten-aged children to a doctor of optometry for a School Board and Education Foundation of Ottawa. comprehensive eye examination. “Our goal is to ensure Statistics show that there are as many as 8,000 that eye health or vision problems do not prevent children children who require correction yet do not have access from reaching their full learning potential,” says Dr. Troy to eyeglasses in Ottawa’s school boards alone. Brady, President, AAO. The program, called Eyes to As, being developed for the During a comprehensive exam, if the child requires OCDSB and Education Foundation of Ottawa works as a glasses, a pair is provided free of charge. This is where the coalition of partners from existing initiatives, working partnership with Essilor Canada comes to play. “Essilor together to go to each of the identified schools every Canada provides the lenses and inserts them into the year to make sure that the children who most need frames free of charge. This program could not have the help in accessing vision care services have the barriers impact it has if it weren’t for our working partnership with of access removed. Essilor,” says Dr. Brady. “Together with the AAO we are able to make a true difference and impact the lives, in a Eyes to As brings trained volunteer vision screeners positive way, of these kids who otherwise could have from the Lions Club and University of Ottawa medical gone for months, if not years, without proper eye care,” school’s iScreen interest group into schools identified says Simon Robert, Essilor Group’s Mission Senior Director. by the Education Foundation as needing help. All of the children in the school are seen, and for those with Thanks to the program, 43.3% possible vision issues, parents are notified of a referral of kindergarten-aged for an eye exam. An optometrist from the Canadian children in Alberta are Council of the Blind’s mobile eye clinic initiative then now seeing their visits the school and conducts the comprehensive eye optometrist vs. 14% when exams, and children needing glasses receive them free the program began in 2003. of charge from Essilor Canada. To date, 564 children The program distributed 2,071 from four schools have been screened and 262 have pairs of glasses last been referred to an optometrist with the majority never school year and for having seen an optometrist before. 65.7% of these children, it was their EYE FOCUS | December Digital 2019 23