POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Comprehensive no-cost eye exams and glasses will be provided to students in the Poughkeepsie City School District this month, through a partnership between the State Education Department (NYSED), VSP Vision, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), and the New York State Society of Opticians (NYSSO). This two-day event will provide accessible vision care and resources to those in need and raise awareness of the critical role clear vision plays in children’s physical, cognitive, and social development.

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Good vision is essential for students to reach their highest potential in school. Being able to see well is also crucial to physical development, social development, and learning. Extending eye care services to families that may not otherwise be able to afford it is a critical part of ensuring all students have the support they need to succeed.”

“We often talk about giving students the tools they need to thrive, and access to quality vision care must be included in that toolbox,” said NYSED Commissioner Rosa. “With this program, we are supporting the whole child, family, and community. We are pleased to once again support this effort to bring comprehensive eye exams and glasses to children in need.”

Research shows that one in four school-age children has a vision disorder impacting their ability to learn. To help address this challenge, NYSED is coordinating no-cost eye exams for Poughkeepsie City School District students. Local doctors of optometry, including VSP network doctors, will volunteer their time to provide the exams through a VSP Vision Eyes of Hope mobile clinic.

VSP Vision Eyes of Hope will also donate prescription eyeglasses to students who need them, and a licensed optician will be on-hand to fit the glasses. For glasses not made on-site, an optician will return within a few weeks to provide the necessary fittings.

Since 2017, these vision clinics’ doctors have provided nearly 500 comprehensive eye exams, and more than 350 students received free eyeglasses. More than 50 New York State-licensed optometrists and opticians participated, and VSP Vision has donated more than 500 Eyes of Hope gift certificates to help additional students with no-cost eye exams and glasses. In 2020 and 2021, VSP Vision provided tens of thousands of additional certificates to schools across the state when the pandemic limited travel and school access.

Free eye exams will be provided to students in Poughkeepsie City Schools who have been contacted by district officials to set up an appointment. The clinics will be held on October 3-4 at the district’s Early Learning Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.