Every Baltimore City Public Schools student between pre-K and eighth grade will soon receive free vision screenings and — if needed — free eyeglasses.
It’s part of the new Vision for Baltimore program, co-sponsored by the city’s school system and health department as well as Johns Hopkins University, Warby Parker Eyewear and the nonprofit Vision To Learn.
“It is common sense that if students cannot see the board, they will struggle to learn,” city Health Commissioner Leana Wen said in a statement. “Vision for Baltimore is about providing every child glasses who needs it, regardless of ability to pay, so that we can eliminate barriers to learning, level the playing ground of inequality, and set up all of our children for success.”
Over the next three years, the health department will provide vision screenings for all eligible students; those that fail will be seen by Vision to Learn specialists will provide eye exams and glasses using the organization’s mobile clinics.
Hopkins will study the effectiveness of the program, its impact on academic performance and its potential implications for national education policy, according to a news release from the health department.
Funding for the program is being provided by a group of donors including the Abell Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and U.S. Rep. John K. Delaney, D-Md.