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The Vision Van Visits Deerwood to Provide Students in Need with Free Eye Exams and Glasses

Transitions Optical and the OneSight Vision Van rolled up to Deerwood Elementary School Friday morning ready to provide free eye exams and custom-made glasses to students in need.  

"I can’t see when I’m reading," said Belandca, a fifth grader at Deerwood Elementary.  "When I’m reading, I have to reread it like so many times to where I can read it." 

The school nurse identified Belandca as a student who did not pass the vision screening exam.  It turns out Belandca has been struggling to read clearly since the third grade, but those struggles come to an end after a trip aboard the Vision Van.

"First, we had to go check if we could see squares, houses, and hearts.  Then we had to see if we could touch bugs [through stereo tests]. Then we had to go look through this microscope.  Then we came to the bus to do the glasses." 

After completing all those stations, Belandca met with an Optometrist who prescribed her with glasses for reading and doing homework.

"I picked clear glasses that are trending now," said Belandca. 

The Vision Van is equipped with two exam rooms and all the machines necessary to customize glasses on the spot.  In a matter of minutes, Belandca returned to class with her glasses in hand ready to focus in on her schoolwork.

"Children need access to vision care at an early age," said Patience Cook, Director of North America Marketing for Transitions Optical.  "They need to be able to read and to do well in their studies, but also research tells us that multicultural students are disproportionately impacted by eye diseases and vision loss."

85 students from both Deerwood and Chestnut Elementary Schools secured appointments through the OneSight Vision Van, which first hit the road in 1988. 

"The concept of it originally was how do we bring an optical shop to the kids with all of the functionality of the LensCrafters or any other type of optical shop, but without the cash register?" said Dawn Yager, a Program Manager for OneSight.  "The cash register is a barrier for the families, and that’s where this program was born." 

The van has since traveled across the country helping thousands of students just like Belandca. 

"I feel happy," said Belandca. "I can read, and I can get better grades."

Yager has been both a volunteer and employee for OneSight for the last 17 years. She knows there's nothing more special than helping these students see the world more clearly.

"When you hand somebody, especially a child, a pair of glasses where they haven’t worn them before and suddenly, they look up and you can see that their eyes get really big.  They always look at the trees, and one of the very common things that we hear from kids is, ‘I can see the leaves.’" 

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