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Looking Out for Kids: Providing a Better Future through Improved Vision

Posted Friday, October 6th, 2017

Member Submitted

Submitted by: Rachel Stengel, Communications and Publications Specialist, Salus University

For decades, Salus University and The Eye Institute (TEI) – the clinical practice of the University’s college of optometry – have been committed to providing comprehensive eye care services to disadvantaged children in Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. In 2007, they formally established the “Looking Out for Kids” (LOFK) charity fund, which provides necessary vision care services to thousands of children in need each year. As good vision is strongly correlated with academic success and social development, LOFK positively impacts the lives of the region’s children.

Since 2010 alone, TEI has provided more than 13,000 vision screenings for students in the School District of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. In the 2016-17 school year, nearly 3,000 children received eye care services, including vision screenings comprehensive eye examinations, and more than 800 pairs of glasses were dispensed.

Children who fail the state-mandated vision screening at their school are transported to one of The Eye Institute’s three facilities for a comprehensive vision exam and eyeglasses if needed.  When needed, two pairs of glasses are dispensed – one for school and one for home. Over the last several years, Salus University and The Eye Institute have expanded their community-based school vision program to serve the Abington, Cheltenham, Norristown and Chester school districts. Optometrists from TEI work closely with school nurses to identify students who require further visual examination. Students in these districts receive comprehensive vision and ocular health examinations either on the University’s Mobile Vision Care Unit or in the case of the Norristown school, a rotating school-based vision clinic.

Each fall, Salus University hosts a fundraiser, complete with food, drinks, entertainment and an auction to raise the funds needed to continue this important outreach initiative. This year’s event will be held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill and Emmy-winning NBC10 news anchor and reporter Rosemary Connors will serve as the evening’s host. The financial success of the fundraiser dictates just how many children we can serve.  We are making a difference in the lives of these children. Without the support of our generous sponsors, corporate partners and local foundations, the LOFK initiative and the care we provide would not be possible.

For more information, visit salusUhealth.com/LOFK.

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