Clear Vision, Bright Future
In September 2001, the Wisconsin Optometric Association (WOA) worked with state lawmakers and the Wisconsin Governor to pass a children’s vision law. At that time, Wisconsin was only one of two states to enact a children’s vision law in the country. Passing the children’s vision law in Wisconsin was only part of the WOA’s overall plan known as the "Clear Vision, Bright Future Project." The goal of this project was, and still is, to raise public awareness regarding the important link between good vision and eye health and a child’s ability to learn in school and succeed in life.
|"Reports indicate that one in four school-age children suffer from vision problems... Children deserve every opportunity to succeed, and giving them the gift of good vision is one way we can help."
- VSP President & CEO Roger Valine
Over 80 percent of all learning in a child’s first twelve years of life is obtained through vision. Therefore, healthy eyes and clear vision are one of the most important tools we can give our children. The WOA has used the children’s vision law as a springboard to promote several programs that assist children of low-income families and those individuals who don’t have the means to obtain care. These programs include:
InfantSEE®: A national program through the American Optometric Association (AOA) that provides free eye examinations to infants 6 months to one year of age, regardless of the parent’s ability to pay.
VISION USA - The Wisconsin Project: This program provides benevolent vision and eye health care to low income working families across the state.
Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic: This is an inner city free health clinic in Milwaukee that offers benevolent care by volunteer WOA members.
Special Olympics Lions Club International Opening Eyes Program: WOA members volunteer their time and services to provide benevolent comprehensive eye care to participants of the two major Special Olympics events held in Wisconsin each year.
WOA members value the partnership that we have established over the past several years with parents, school district administrators, school nurses, the Wisconsin Lions Foundation and other health providers in the state. Together, we strive to educate parents and children on the importance of proper eye health and vision care, and encourage the public to receive a comprehensive eye exam from an eye doctor.
"While vision screenings are important, some estimates are that school screenings only catch about one-third of all vision problems."
- Vision Council of America
"One of every six children is two or more grade levels behind in reading. Of these 'slow' readers, 80 percent have difficulty in eye control and coordination."
- Optometric Extension Program Foundation
"Twenty-five percent of junior high school aged children (11-14 years-old) cannot read the blackboard because of myopia [nearsightedness]."
- Helen Keller International