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Teaming Up to Provide Vision Care to Chicago Students

March 25, 2019 | Community

Aetna and OneSight partnered with CPS to offer free eye exams and eyeglasses to hundreds of Chicago students.

Nearly 90 percent of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students screened on the first day of a vision clinic provided by Aetna and OneSight – the leading global vision care nonprofit organization – were identified as needing vision correction.

As part of our efforts to engage people with the care they need, when they need it, Aetna and OneSight partnered with CPS to offer free eye exams and eyeglasses to hundreds of CPS students, who would otherwise have limited or no access to vision care.

Glasses were manufactured onsite, allowing students from Youth Connection Charter School – Truman Middle College and the Truman College Child Development Lab School to receive their pair the next day. Roughly, 12,000 adult students from the largest English as a Second Language and GED programs in Illinois were also eligible to use the clinic.

“We have a district of over 361,000 students, many with vision related needs and our school-based/school-linked vision exam program helps us eliminate poor vision as a barrier to learning,” said D. Kenneth L. Fox, Chicago Public Schools chief health officer.

Clear sight helps students comprehend and learn up to twice as much, increasing productivity by 35 percent and reducing dropout rates by 44 percent, according to a study by OneSight and Deloitte. Aetna’s partnership with OneSight will serve this vulnerable student population and help raise community awareness about the importance of vision care.

“At least 60 percent of our overall health comes from our social and physical environment, or social determinants of health, which play an important role in how young people grow and thrive,” said Jerome Dioguardi, vice president, Aetna dental and vision. “We are happy to support an effort that contributes to vision wellness.”

More than 55,000 CPS students have minimal to no access to optometry and ophthalmology services. Vision changes can occur without a child or parent noticing them, and students should have their eyes examined annually, or more frequently if recommended by an eye doctor.

“Our fight for clear sight is essentially a fight for human potential,” said Janet Duke, clinic manager at OneSight. “We have hosted over 900 charitable clinics and are happy to bring this experience to Chicago Public School students.”