For the fifth year, the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA) and the Mississippi Vision Foundation (MVF) will provide eye exams at no-cost to third graders who did not pass the state reading assessment test and do not have insurance. The exams are offered through July 31.
This year, with higher standards implemented by the Mississippi Department of Education, one in four of the state’s third graders did not pass the literacy promotion test. Studies show that children who struggle to read are more likely to leave school without graduating; ultimately contributing to the poverty rates in our state.
“We know that vision is a greater predictor of academic success than socioeconomic status. And as citizens of Mississippi we have a vested interest in making sure all of our students have the tools and the opportunity to succeed at their highest abilities,” said Dr. Amy Crigler, MOA President. “Vision is a better predictor of academic success than socioeconomic status. We are committed to identifying those students who have vision problems.”
Statistics show that 25 percent of all school age children have vision problems and more than 80 percent do not get the help they need. Results of the MOA and MVF Third Grade Eye Exam program (aimed at students who did not pass the third grade reading assessment) reveal that 88 percent of the students who took advantage of the eye exams were found to be in need of some form of visual intervention.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said, “We greatly appreciate the association’s concern for our students’ health and academic progress, and this annual opportunity for… eye exams is a wonderful example of community partnerships that will benefit students.”
For students who are covered through private insurance, applicable co-pays may apply due to laws that require the doctor to collect this amount. All children, regardless of their family’s ability to pay, will be seen by ODs participating in the program. The MVF, working with industry partners, will cover the costs for any student who needs an exam and is not covered through insurance. Additionally, industry partners are working with Mississippi ODs to provide glasses to any student whose eye exam reveals the need for corrective lenses.
To locate a participating optometrist, parents of eligible third graders should go to www.msvisionfoundation.org or call 601.572.0845. When making the appointment, parents should tell the receptionist they are scheduling the third grade eye appointment. They should bring the letter notifying them that their child did not pass the assessment test with them to the appointment.