Amid all the tests and questions at my son’s three-year well check, the nurse pulled out a binocular-like device to test his eyesight. After mesmerizing him with the colorful lights and nature sounds, she took a snapshot that gave us an instant pre-screen of his eyesight.
I was surprised and impressed that our pediatrician included this test as part of a regular check-up and at such a young age. It’s comforting to have this screening to identify or rule out vision issues, removing at least one barrier to their development.
Too many parents don’t have this level of comfort for their children’s vision.
As with many of our first-world privileges, there are millions of people in our country and abroad that don’t have affordable or any access to vision care like this. The American Optometric Association says that 1 in 4 children has an undiagnosed vision problem. With 80% of learning in school being visual, poor vision could be detrimental to a child’s development.
Enter OneSight, a global nonprofit based right here in Cincinnati.
Why I Love This Organization
It’s right in their mission: they are “dedicated to creating a world where lack of access to vision care is no longer a barrier to human achievement and potential.” I am most passionate about nonprofits that endeavor to remove obstacles for other humans. How can we expect people to be upstanding, contributing members of society when they face barriers that many of us take for granted?
OneSight has established over 2,000 clinics around the world that provide immediate access to eye exams and glasses. Beyond meeting this critical need, this organization:
- Created 177 sustainable vision centers to date. I love this “hand up” – equipping people to not just fix a one-time problem, but to establish a longstanding solution to combat an issue.
- Employs local residents to run these centers. The economic benefit is two-fold: locals are employed and empowered to correct vision issues in patients who are, in turn, better positioned for employment.
- Has served more than 10 million patients in 55 countries in an effort to fight illiteracy, poverty and inequality. Their bold goal is to eradicate poor vision. This will help people learn better, earn more and connect more deeply with one another.
How They Can Help You
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing, OneSight recently launched a free online vision check tool designed for parents to use at home with their children. As kids adapt to new ways of learning at home, parents could observe vision habits and changes they might otherwise not have noticed. This quick and easy-to-use tool determines whether refractive errors might exist and assesses color vision.
The ideal minimum age for this test is 5 or 6, and it can be taken in minutes on a desktop, laptop or tablet. While you’re at it, take the test for yourself to see if hours looking at a screen or age may have changed your eyesight and need for corrective lenses.
The test is simple, and OneSight makes it easy to navigate:
- Adjust your screen for optimal vision screening size, enter your name and begin.
- Position yourself or your child at the recommended distance from the screen.
- Cover and uncover your eyes as directed and click or tap your responses.
- Identify and type your answers for the color test.
- Get your results.
You’ll receive immediate answers on whether you “pass” each section or there is a “possible issue.” You can then schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as feasible.
During this stay-at-home period, parents feel as if we are facing so many obstacles to adequately do our jobs, maintain our homes, and educate our children as they navigate remote learning. The online vision tool can help take a step towards removing one possible barrier for our children.
How You Can Make a Difference
OneSight’s charitable clinics are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for their services will likely be even greater in the wake of the health crisis, as a result of job loss, insurance loss, financial strain and vulnerable populations not receiving as much care during this time of isolation. The organization is preparing a plan to resume its charitable services as soon as possible, including the Cincinnati area and the hardest-hit communities they can impact quickly and safely.
You can help advance their mission by donating, starting a fundraiser, or encouraging your company to become a sponsor. As little as $30 means an eye exam and a pair of glasses for someone in need.
Learn more about the amazing charitable work of this organization at onesight.org.