Eye care students and professionals partner to help children See to Succeed
01.06.2015 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao
For elementary school student Angelique Martinez, walking onto a college campus for the first time was an enjoyable experience.
"This is fun," said Martinez. "I get to pick out my glasses."
The Pasadena student was one of 1,139 students eligible to take a day trip to San Jacinto College in December for the Kid’s Vision for Life See to Succeed program, coordinated by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS), San Jacinto College, University of Houston (UH) College of Optometry, Essilor Vision Foundation, Wal-Mart, Berkeley Eye Center, and the Luxottica One Sight Foundation.
Out of the 58 schools that participated at San Jacinto College, more than 1,000 children were found to need eyeglasses, 225 children needed medical referrals, and five children needed 24-hour urgent referrals.
"The impact this program makes is huge," said Debra Clarke, San Jacinto College eye care technology program director. "It's a win-win situation because we are able to help children who otherwise wouldn't have the resources to get eye care and glasses, and our college students are able to use what they've learned and apply it in a real eye care patient environment."
San Jacinto College student Priscila Reyna realizes the broad impact she has the ability to make through the eye care technology program and See to Succeed.
"Dealing with patients through See to Succeed really helps me to understand how I can help others catch eye care health issues before they get worse," said Reyna, who was inspired to pursue a career in the eye care field after receiving LASIK surgery. "I think this is the most rewarding part of this program - impacting people's lives."
According to the Kid’s Vision for Life See to Succeed program, one in four children have an uncorrected vision problem. Fifty percent of children who fail school eye screenings never see an eye doctor. Children who can’t read by third grade are more likely to drop out, earn 50 percent less annually as adults, and are more likely to be incarcerated.
Young Elementary principal Shirlyn Ross said she hears the positive feedback each year from her school teachers whose students have made vast improvements after receiving eyeglasses through See to Succeed.
"Those who need glasses may have problems with instruction and academics and can get discouraged,” said Ross. “Since this program, we've received a lot of feedback from the teachers who say their students are finally getting the eye care they need. It’s a wonderful project."
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.