PCCY’s Give Kids Sight Day: Free eye exams and glasses for uninsured children

Uninsured children can receive free eye exams and, if needed, two free pairs of eyeglasses at Give Kids Sight Day on Saturday, April 12 in Philadelphia.

All children, 18 and under, will be examined on a first come, first served basis from 8:30 am to 2:00pm.  No insurance or appointments are necessary. Registration for the free event will take place at the Hamilton Building at Thomas Jefferson University located at 10th and Locust Streets.

The fifth annual event is being sponsored by Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), Wills Eye Hospital, Eagles Youth Partnership, Thomas Jefferson University, Visionworks, and the First Hospital Foundation.

Children from Philadelphia and the suburbs who have failed an eye screening at school or have not had their eyes examined in the last year are strongly urged to attend. Childrens’ eyes should be examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.

Signs that a child may have vision problems, according to KidsHealth, include:

  • constant eye rubbing
  • extreme light sensitivity
  • poor focusing
  • poor visual tracking (following an object)
  • abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes (after 6 months of age)
  • chronic redness of the eyes
  • chronic tearing of the eyes
  • a white pupil instead of black

In school-age children, watch for other signs such as:

  • inability to see objects at a distance
  • inability to read the blackboard
  • squinting
  • difficulty reading
  • sitting too close to the TV

“Too many children in our area are dealing with eye problems that are going untreated,” said Alex V. Levin, MD, MHSc, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics at Wills Eye Hospital in written statement. “This affects their ability to learn. Through Give Kids Sight Day, we are able to give these children the vision care they need to improve their chances of succeeding in the classroom.”

If you plan to attend, organizers note that registration, screening, and selecting glasses can take several hours. While waiting for eye care, families can participate in a health fair featuring blood pressure screenings and assistance with applying for health insurance.

Interpreters in Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and several other languages will also be on hand to assist families.  For more information, call 215-563-5848, ext. 21 or go to www.pccy.org/sightday.

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