Mississippi Vision Foundation

Mississippi Optometric Association to provide eye exams at no cost for students who did not pass third grade reading assessment

JACKSON, MS For the second 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, 2016.

Last year, 88 percent of the students who were tested through the eye exam program were found to be in need of some form of visual intervention. Although test scores will not be available for a few weeks, last year nearly 15 percent of Mississippi third graders did not pass the reading assessment.

“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. Only by partnering with our schools can we begin to see change take place,” said Dr. Greg Loose, MOA President. “The MOA and its Foundation are pleased to be a part of making a difference in the lives of students and we are committed to identifying those students who have vision problems.”

While there are many issues that can affect a child’s inability to read and comprehend, one of those issues can be a vision problem. Statistics show that 25 percent of all school age children have vision problems and more than 80 percent of those do not get the help they need.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said, “We appreciate community partners, such as the Mississippi Optometric Association, who ensure that students around the state have every opportunity to succeed in school. This continued commitment to student health will benefit children who may have undiagnosed vision issues that hamper their learning ability.”

For students who are covered through private insurance, 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. Additionally, industry partners are working with Mississippi ODs to provide glasses free of charge to any student whose eye test reveals the need for corrective lenses.

To locate a participating optometrist, parents of eligible third graders should go to www.msvisionfoundation.org and click the "Find an Eye Doctor" tab 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.

Doctors: to find instructions for how to participate in this program, click here.