Students receive free gift: eye exams & glasses

Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 18:49:45-04

Students one moment, patients the next.


At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, it's a limited-time only, one-stop shop for free eye care and roughly 700 Omaha Public Schools students will participate, according to organizers.





We'll be doing comprehensive exams and also free glasses to any kids who need them, says Jeanee Weiss, CEO of Building Healthy Futures.


The nonprofit, which aims to improve the health of underprivileged youth in Omaha, is spearheading a local initiative known as Child Vision Collaborative.


K-12 students will visit UNMC’s College of Public Health this week.


If it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes a collaborative effort from 18 agencies, like OneSight to help these students see clearer.


The vision care non-profit joins a long list of other partners in health care, education and business, according to the spokespeople from UNMC at Omaha Public Schools.


In only two years, the initiative screened over 9,000 kids, Weiss says.


“We've learned that approximately 33 percent of the kids are failing a vision screening,” she says.


However, only 10 percent of them actually see an eye care professional, according to data collected by the district and its partners.


Despite the statistics, Keite Mur is kind of in denial.


"I sit at the front row but when I'm looking at the screens and taking notes … [and] my eyes get kind of blurry,” says the sophomore student at Bryan High.


Still, she joins her classmates as they walk through several stations with tests looking at the eye muscles, color vision and far and near sightedness, just to name a few.


In November, the district had 7,500 students from 13 OPS schools screened by Child Vision Collaborative and of those 2,400 were identified as needing glasses, organizers say.



According to UNMC officials, 90 percent of students  will walk out with prescription glasses during the weeklong vision screening.


Inside the OneSight Van, eye care professionals customize lenses for each student. Just on the other side, students also meet with eye doctors.


From start to finish, the visit is approximately two hours.


Back in the Public Health building, Mur is seen picking frames.


Tuesday’s eye exam is her first in a long time , she says. In her hand, she holds a pair of solid black frames – her  first –  and undoubtedly an eye-opening experience, which is what organizers hoped to create.


For once, just maybe – Mur can sit in the back of the classroom. 


To learn more about Building Healthy Futures, click here.