(Press Release) RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global has announced that 1 million adults and children in need have received no-cost eye exams and glasses through Eyes of Hope, the company’s initiative to increase access to eyecare and eyewear where it’s needed most. Since 1997, VSP Global businesses have invested nearly $175 million in products and services for people disadvantaged by income, natural disaster or distance to care.
To increase access to eyecare for those in need, Eyes of Hope initiatives include gift certificates that provide no-cost eye care in a VSP doctor’s office, mobile eyecare clinics, and eyewear donations. The earliest – and still active – Eyes of Hope program distributes gift certificates to ensure school-aged children have access to quality vision care. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, VSP developed mobile eyecare clinics to provide eyecare and replace lost or damaged eyewear for community members and first responders while supporting vision care providers who lost their practices.
“Eyes of Hope has consistently continued to grow in sophistication and innovation, providing both immediate and sustainable solutions for vision care globally,” says Jim McGrann, president and CEO of VSP Global. “We’re tremendously proud to be celebrating this milestone and look forward to increasing access to quality vision care in even more communities in the future.”
In celebration of the milestone, VSP will host a two-day mobile eyecare clinic event at Monarch School in San Diego to provide eye exams and glasses to both students and their family members. The Monarch School is operated by a public-private educational partnership and serves more than 300 students impacted by homelessness. VSP provides services to Monarch on a semi-annual basis dating back to 2014.
More than 12 percent of residents in the San Diego metro area lack health insurance of any kind (including vision care), a figure that accounts for more than 400,000 individuals. Many more are underinsured. Across the United States, one in four children have an undetected vision problem.
“By bringing eye care directly to Monarch students and their families at our school, VSP is helping to meet a need that’s often overlooked,” says Erin Spiewak, CEO of Monarch School. “Even if they do have vision coverage, many members of the Monarch community – like so many others across the country – are simply unable to travel significant distances to receive care. That’s why a flexible, mobile program like Eyes of Hope is so important.”
Aside from eye-specific issues, through a comprehensive eye exam, optometrists can also detect early signs of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and even spot tumors.
As a result of reaching 1 million people, VSP Global has committed to helping another million. This initiative, Eyes of Hope: a Million More, will provide access to eyecare to 1 million more people by 2020. The initiative launches in May with a 2016 partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where immediate and sustainable access to no-cost eyecare and eyewear will be provided in 10 cities.
VSP partners and members are invited to check out the conversation using the hashtag #MillionPossibilities. Post a picture with the hashtag and a short personal definition of how seeing clearly enables you to do something you love.