For 15 years and counting, students in Title-1 schools across eight Central West Florida counties have been able to see a brighter future thanks to the Glazer Vision Foundation.
The mission of the Glazer Vision Foundation remains clear and unwavering: To ensure that every student has access to eye screenings and, if necessary, free vision correction. This mission is the direct result of the childhood experiences of the late Malcolm Glazer, whose own development as a student was helped dramatically by vision correction.
Much of the GVF’s mission is accomplished by the Mobile Vision Clinic Program. The mobile clinic is fun and interactive for students and is staffed by doctors, nurses and eye-care specialists. It is designed to complete the entire process of the detection and correction of vision problems in one stop, as it includes an eye exam screening area, a prescription lens lab and a full selection of eyeglass frames.
The mobile eye clinic – called the “Vision Mobile” upon its launch in 2009 – provides these services to 2,000 students a year in Hillsborough and Pinellas County elementary schools. Since 2006, the GVF has also donated vision screening equipment to school systems in those two counties as well as Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota Counties.
To date, more than 100,000 students have been screened for vision issues, leading to more than 19,000 exams and more than 20,000 glasses distributed, all at no cost to the students, their families or their schools.
The GVF understands that good vision is essential to a student’s successful development. In the process of learning, 80% of the input is through the eyes, but approximately 25% of all students have some sort of vision impairment. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of access to vision screening, as 44% of parents are unaware that behavioral problems can often stem from a student’s experience with impaired vision.
In 2015, the Glazer Family Foundation launched a brand new Vision Mobile, with the customized 40-foot vehicle provided by Lazydays RV. This year, the Glazer Family Foundation became the Glazer Vision Foundation. The mobile clinic’s screening area includes an exam chair and the necessary equipment for the on-site ophthalmologist to test a student’s vision. The full-service workstation houses equipment to edge frames and create glasses inside the vehicle.
When the mobile clinic visits a school, museum or community event, students are first checked with an auto-refractor to determine if there is a need for glasses. The ophthalmologist then examines the students and, if necessary, generates a prescription. In most cases, the glasses are made that same afternoon in the mobile clinic, though some more extreme prescriptions require the glasses to be sent to a lab and delivered at a later date.
The Glazer Vision Foundation is committed to its ongoing mission of giving every student the chance to learn and develop without the hidden disadvantage of vision problems. When all our students can see properly, the future will look better than ever.