Eye See...Eye Learn Pilot Program launches in Hamilton

    Ontario Association of Optometrists working with local School Boards to
    promote the role of vision in learning

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is pleased to be working with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) to launch the Eye See...Eye Learn program for Hamilton kindergarten students.

The Eye See...Eye Learn program was developed to raise awareness among parents of the important role of vision in learning.

"Children, who cannot see the board, focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential," says Dr. Sheldon Salaba Chair of the OAO Children's Vision Committee. "In fact, 80 per cent of all learning during a child's first 12 years comes directly through vision."

"At HWDSB, we know that vision problems that go undetected in childhood can often lead to life-long deficiencies in learning skills and performance. We are thrilled to be part of this pilot project, which will give our youngest students the opportunity to reach their potential by seeing clearly in the classroom and in everyday life," said Krys Croxall, Superintendent of Education, Elementary Program and Assessment at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Jackie Bajus, Superintendent of Education for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board agrees, "the HWCDSB is committed to ensuring that students are given every opportunity to succeed. The Eye See...Eye Learn pilot is one such opportunity. By providing free eye wear to school-age children, the Ontario Association of Optometrists is helping us to ensure that all children come to school ready to learn."

The Hamilton Eye See...Eye Learn pilot is the first of its kind in Ontario. OAO hopes it will address the troubling Ontario statistics that show less than 20% of children have an eye exam before entering school, despite the fact that annual eye examinations are covered by OHIP for children 19 years of age and under.

Parents of children participating in the program will be provided with an information package through their child's school. Parents are encouraged to book an eye examination for their child with a participating optometrist. As many as one in six children will develop a vision problem that requires some form of correction; any child participating in the program that has a vision problem will be provided with a free pair of eyeglasses.

For more information on the Eye See...Eye Learn program, please visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists' web site at www.EyeSeeEyeLearn.ca or call 1-800-540-3837 for more information.

Optometrists are professionally educated and clinically trained to provide community-based primary eye health and vision care services. Optometrists provide comprehensive eye care for patients of all ages to optimize vision and prevent vision loss.

SOURCE Ontario Association of Optometrists

For further information: For further information: Melissa Secord, Assistant Executive Director, Ontario Association of Optometrists, (905) 826-3522, ext 243, Email: msecord@optom.on.ca

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Ontario Association of Optometrists

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