Free eye clinic helps kids see clearly
HOUSTON — Chaise Perry can’t quite see the words in his favorite Pete the Cat books, or those on the whiteboard at the front of his Francone Elementary School classroom.
On Wednesday, he grabbed at hologram wasps to gauge his depth perception. At a free eye-testing clinic at the Richard E. Berry Educational Support Center in Cypress, Chaise traced rainbow-colored hexograms to test for colorblindness.
Soon, a pair of bright, red glasses will arrive for him, and he’ll sit in his usual assigned seat and no longer squint.
The Houston Health Department estimates up to 20,000 area students start school each year with unresolved eye or vision issues — a problem so pervasive that, in 2011, the agency and its nonprofit wing, the Houston Health Foundation, began offering free, full eye exams to 10 school districts. Through a data-sharing agreement with the Houston Independent School District, the Health Foundation was able to track the progress of its 2015 program participants in the year after they were treated.
All told, 80 percent of students saw grades improve. Of that group, 67 percent passed math after failing it the year before, the study found. Another 93 percent of those students received passing grades in reading or language arts, despite failing it a year earlier.