By Hadas Kuznits
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of children were fitted for free eyeglasses Saturday afternoon after receiving free vision screenings as part of the 5th annual Give Kids Sight Day at Wills Eye Hospital.
“Kids come in, they register, depending on their age, they get screened,” said Dr. Alex Levin, Chief of Pediatric Opthomology. “If they pass their screen they go home, congratulations. If you fail your screen, we see if we can use glasses to make you see better. If we can make you see better, you get two free pairs of glasses.”
Levin helped organize the event. He said a small percentage of kids even get follow-up care for more serious vision problems that require more than just corrective lenses.
“Even kids who have serious eye problems, we’ve done sometimes vision-saving procedures and other things that really make a difference in their lives,” he said.
Kiesha Turner of West Philadelphia was one of about 1,500 people who brought their children to get checked out.
“One of my daughters failed her vision test twice,” said Turner, “So I definitely wanted to get her re-checked.”
(Kuznits): “Now would that be like a big hardship if you had to do all this on your own?”
“An extreme hardship,” Turner said, “because I know I need glasses and I’m not able to pay for it, so at least I can take advantage for them.”
13-year-old Ivy Smith also received a free eye exam.
“I got my glasses when I was in 4th grade when I was 10,” Smith said. “They broke like five times, the same pair of glasses, so they’re just done.”
Give Kids Sight Day helps thousands of kids each year, according to Levin.
“In Philadelphia, 22,000 kids every year fail their school screen,” Levin said, “and only about 5,000 end up in the care of an eye doctor.”