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Johnson & Johnson Vision Celebrates 20 Years of Sight for Kids Program

The program has reached more than 42 million students in underserved communities in Asia, Africa and, most recently, the U.S. to create greater equity in access to eye care.

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(PRESS RELEASE) JACKSONVILLE, FL AND SANTA ANA, CA — Johnson & Johnson Vision, a global leader in eye health and part of Johnson & Johnson MedTech**, and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), a leader among international humanitarian volunteer organizations, announced today the 20-year anniversary of Sight For Kids, a co-founded program to close the gap in access to eye care by providing comprehensive eye care services for children in low-income and underserved communities. To mark the occasion, Johnson & Johnson Vision and LCIF will be showcasing the power and impact of delivering healthy sight over the past 20 years through 20 stories of people who have experienced that impact firsthand — with an eye toward the future and the lives Sight For Kids will continue to change globally.

“Healthy sight is critical to a child’s academic performance, self-esteem and overall well-being, but too often they don’t have access to eye care to diagnose and treat vision issues, whether due to financial reasons or a lack of resources in their community,” said Dr. Freddy Simon, an ophthalmologist in Kerala, India, who actively engages with the Sight For Kids program. “These children have their whole lives ahead of them, and by helping their vision through Sight For Kids, we can make a meaningful impact now that will carry into the future, from their studies to their career.”

Founded in 2002 to address inequity in eye care among children — of the estimated 312 million children younger than 19 with myopia, half of the cases remain undetected and untreated1 —Sight For Kids is now the largest-known, school-based eye health program in the world, having already served more than 42 million children in Asia, Africa and, most recently, the U.S., since the program’s inception.

In 2021, the program expanded to the U.S., collaborating with the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program, a division of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to serve students across Miami-Dade, Broward, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties, with the goal of providing 20,000 screenings over the first year.

“To create healthy sight for life, we must start in childhood — and healthy sight means more than just the ability to see clearly, but also how we interpret the world around us, socialize and learn,” said Peter Menziuso, company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson Vision.*** “But not all children have access to basic eye care services, which is why we partnered with Lions Clubs International Foundation 20 years ago to create Sight For Kids. It has been remarkable to see the difference our teams, partner educators, and eye care professionals have been able to make across Africa and Asia, and I am so proud we are expanding our commitment to children in need in the U.S.”

Sight For Kids is one of the longest running programs of its kind and provides teachers with training to deliver eye health education, perform visual acuity tests, and screen for common eye conditions.

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Students identified with potential vision impairment or eye ailments are referred to healthcare providers for further evaluation, all at no cost to the family. To date, 200,000 teachers have been trained and more than 500,000 pairs of free eyeglasses have been provided to underserved children.

“It is incredible to think back on the past 20 years and all the people who have come together, both in the communities Lions serve and across our organizations, to give more than 42 million children the gift of healthy sight and the societal inclusion that comes along with it,” said Dr. Jung-Yul Choi, chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation. “Hearing the stories from around the world about how Sight For Kids is changing lives is inspirational, and I cannot wait to see the impact the program can have over the next 20 years, and beyond.”

Learn more and follow along as we share impactful stories from the past 20 years on Twitter @JNJVision, on Facebook @JNJVision, at the Johnson & Johnson Vision LinkedIn page, and the Corporate Social Responsibility page.

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