The pilot project
In 2003 the Alberta Association of Optometrists partnered with Elk Island Public Schools, the Ministry of Children's Services, the Capital Health Authority, and the East Central Health Authority to launch an exciting pilot project called Eye See Eye Learn. The project was designed to ensure eye health and/or vision problems weren't a factor in preventing children from reaching their full learning potential. Parents of ECS (Kindergarten) students were encouraged to obtain comprehensive eye health and vision examinations for their children through local optometrists or ophthalmologists.
The results of the pilot
Raising the awareness of the importance of eye health examinations resulted in 30% more kindergarten children having their eyes examined. In children at this age level, it is common for approximately 6% to be prescribed eyeglasses and about 8% to have a binocular or accommodative vision problems. This means that 14% of kindergarten-aged children will have some form of a vision problem.
Where we are now
Since our pilot project, ALL public and separate school divisions across our province have endorsed the Eye See Eye Learn program. This means that each fall about 48,000 parent information packages are sent home with kindergarten children. We hope that all parents/guardians will choose to participate.
Each package contains:
- Information on why eye health is important to your child's learning process
- A copy of the form to be completed by the eye doctor at the time of the eye health assessment and then returned to the classroom.
- A list of commonly asked questions and answers regarding eye health and vision
- Information regarding the free eyeglasses
Fribbit Our Mascot:
Fribbit is our Eye See Eye Learn mascot. Fribbit is meant to make this project more fun for the children. Teachers have resource material for their classrooms where Fribbit is highlighted as they teach about eye health and eye safety. Optometrists have Fribbit in their offices as well so the children can identify with him at the time of their eye exam.
Because of the generous donations of industry sponsors we are able to offer to kindergarten children from participating school divisions one Free pair of eyeglasses if they are prescribed by an eye doctor.