Our Children’s Vision a Major League Team Effort
By: Kovin Naidoo, Director, Our Children's Vision and Courtenay Holden, Marketing and Communications Manager, Our Children's Visionor
This year on World Sight Day, Thursday, October 13, former Major League Baseball stars LaTroy Hawkins and Kenny Lofton will be in Gary, Indiana. They won’t be there to run baseball clinics or sign autographs, but to help us shed light on the fact that one in four children in the US have a vision problem that is significant enough to affect their learning – and yet millions of children in America do not have access to a simple eye exam and pair of glasses.
Our Children’s Vision, with Major League Baseball Players Trust is providing free vision testing for hundreds of elementary school children in Gary. It is only one event out of thousands on World Sight Day happening around the world, but it perfectly highlights the two major drivers behind Our Children’s Vision. First, the immense scale of the problem that is uncorrected refractive error in children. Second, the importance of working in partnership to achieve more.
We have recognised that half the world’s population will be myopic by the year 2050. It is almost unfathomable, that in less than 40 years every other person on the globe will have the same medical condition. The changes in our lifestyles have attributed to this increase, and it is appropriate medical intervention, and changes in lifestyle that will help stop it in its tracks. In the most simplistic way, we need people to put down their smartphones and tablets and get outdoors.
Partnering with Major League Baseball Players Trust makes perfect sense. They want children to play ball, and we want children outside. Healthy lifestyles make for happy healthy children, in every aspect.
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor vision - where 80% of learning is visual. Without clear vision they struggle in the classroom and in the playground. They are often misunderstood as being unintelligent, un-athletic, and introverted. In reality they are simply unable to see well enough to get involved and enjoy the things kids love to do.
We know that the majority of eye conditions that present themselves in children are treatable or preventable. All that is needed is access to regular eye exams and glasses.
The problem is too big for a single organisation to solve. That is why partnerships are the key to success. We are currently working with dozens of partners, but there is room for more. We need partners for all the facets of our mission, from basic research to training, to advocacy and on-the-ground outreach like Major League Baseball Players Trust is helping us do in Indiana.
2020 is just around the corner and we are committed to making the future brighter, and clearer, for 50 million children.
I want to thank the Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School for hosting us and the Illinois Eye Institute Princeton Vision Clinic, The Optical Foundation, Indiana University College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry, Moses Eyecare, Benavente Eyecare, Essilor Vision Foundation, Good-Lite Company, and Lombart Instruments without their support this day could not have taken place. From all the team at Our Children’s Vision – we thank you.
Make this World Sight Day the day you join us. Explore our mission, and our team of partners.