Cycle of Sight Eye Event to Provide Hundreds of Students an Opportunity to Learn

Cincinnati Children's, Luxottica Retail, Prevent Blindness Ohio and the Optician Association of Ohio, Cincinnati Division, Join to Deliver Free Services in November

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CINCINNATI -- To provide better eyesight and education for children, the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute (APEI) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Luxottica Retail's Cycle of Sight program, Prevent Blindness Ohio and the Optician Association of Ohio, Cincinnati Division, is hosting the sixth annual Cycle of Sight event on November 8 and 9 from 8 am until 2:30 pm. The event will take place in the APEI, located on the fourth floor of Location E at Cincinnati Children's. The event will provide eye exams for more than 600 students in the Cincinnati Public School district and more than 400 pairs of glasses.

One in four school-age children has a vision problem. This is alarming considering 80 percent of what children learn is visual. If left untreated, children may experience academic difficulties because of problems seeing the chalk board or school work.

"Many children are simply nearsighted with blurred vision at a distance where glasses make it clear. But, some of the children have more serious problems like strabismus or misalignment of the eyes, amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye" or poor sight in the eye due to disuse, or structural changes in the eye," said Connie West, MD, director of Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children's.

In 2004, the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute (APEI) celebrated its tenth year of helping area children improve their sight. APEI founder, Dr. Ira Abrahamson will be one of the volunteers at the 2005 Cycle of Sight event. "I enjoy seeing the many children being helped through the Cycle of Sight program and feel it takes my vision one step closer to wiping out preventable blindness in children locally and throughout the world," said Dr. Abrahamson.

Hundreds of students, ranging from kindergarten to high-school age, who fail two prior screens and need eye exams but would otherwise not have access to this type of medical care, will be bussed free of charge by First Student to Cincinnati Children's. Those who fail their eye exam and need glasses will be escorted to a fitting room where they will select from a variety of quality frames donated by Luxottica Retail's Cycle of Sight program and be fit and measured by a volunteer optician before returning to the bus.

Luxottica Retail will manufacture the glasses, and on December 1, volunteers from the Optician Association of Ohio, Cincinnati Division and Luxottica Retail will hand-deliver glasses to each child's school. This is in coordination with Luxottica Retail's national "Hometown Day" effort, a day when associates and doctors at stores across the country provide free eye exams and new glasses to those in need.

"Partnering with the schools, we are able to reach many children who might otherwise go without care," said West. "To facilitate seeing so many children during this two-day blitz, we've transformed our department, nearby hallways and other rooms into a mass optical clinic."

More than 75 volunteers per day, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, trained technical staff, nurses and lay people from the Tri-State region, will be on hand to operate the two-day event and manage everything from traffic flow to entertaining children. Last year, volunteers included Cincinnati Children's staff, Luxottica Retail associates, and members of the Opticians Association of Ohio, Cincinnati Division. In the last five years, the Cycle of Sight event at Cincinnati Children's has resulted in 2,549 eye exams and 1,937 pairs of glasses going to area students.

"Cincinnati Public School teachers, faculty and families understand how important this program is. Many eye problems in healthy children can often become a silent disease that can lead to permanent eye damage," says Pamula Thomas, Ombudsperson and LensCrafters liaison for Cincinnati Public Schools. "Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially and athletically. Thanks to this program, students in our district will not have to face these obstacles."

Cincinnati Children's is a 423-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. It ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Danielle Lewis, 513-636-9473, danielle.lewis1@cchmc.org