Download Children’s Book to Help Prepare Kids for Their First Comprehensive Eye Exam
Jan 31, 2019
Meet Howard the Hedgehog, who wants your child to have an eye-opening experience of the best kind.
Bright-eyed Howard is the adorable character in Howard and the Amazing Eye Exam, a free, interactive children’s book that helps kids and their parents prepare for the children’s first comprehensive eye exam.1
The Alcon Foundation is donating 1,000 printed copies of Howard for distribution during Kids Vision Fest, an annual event providing eye exams and glasses at no cost to eligible Fort Worth Independent School District elementary and middle school students, and to FWISD school nurses.
“The book helps educate parents about the importance of comprehensive eye exams for their children and helps prepare children for what happens during an eye exam,” said Melissa Thompson, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Alcon and President of the Alcon Foundation. “By reducing children’s stress and anxiety about their first eye exams, they’ll be more comfortable with having eye exams to protect their eye health and vision.
“Alcon wants to educate people about the importance of regular, comprehensive eye exams from an early age, not just when there are signs and symptoms of a problem,” she added.
Kids Vision Fest features free vision screenings and eye exams for children ages 5 to 12 who have been pre-screened by school nurses. Children who qualify will receive free prescription glasses.
A costumed Howard the Hedgehog will be on hand to pose for photos with his fans. Andy Pawson, President & General Manager of Alcon’s Global Vision Care Franchise, and FWISD Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner will read Howard aloud to kids.
Kids Vision Fest is sponsored by Essilor Vision Foundation – Kids Vision for Life, which provides vision services to students in need through mobile clinics in Texas and other parts of the country. Each clinic provides on-site vision exams at local schools and, in many cases, no-cost prescription glasses for students the same day. The Alcon Foundation supports this work and Kids Vision Fest with grants, while volunteer associates provide certified vision screenings.
Impact of Children’s Vision Problems
Detecting and treating eye problems in children is important, because good vision is critical for learning. Eighty percent of what children learn is by seeing.2
Children should have a comprehensive eye exam – the best way to detect vision problems – between six and 12 months of age, again between ages three and five, before starting school and then annually between ages six and 18 years, according to the American Optometric Association.3
However, only 14 percent of children in the United States have received a comprehensive eye exam by age six. Nine out of 10 U.S. kids who need glasses don’t have them. And a third of children experience vision problems that affect their long-term health, school performance and emotional and social development.4, 5
Vision problems affect children’s ability to learn, causing academic underachievement and reduced adult literacy. Kids with vision problems are three times more likely to fail at least one grade.4, 5
Vision problems also cause developmental difficulties and are linked to anti-social and delinquent behavior. In short, vision problems handicap many children by preventing them from achieving their full potential.4, 5
Many programs providing low- or no-cost eye care services are offered by Alcon Foundation partners.
Located in Fort Worth’s First Christian Church, Community Eye Clinic provides low-cost or free exams, treatment and glasses to uninsured/underinsured patients in Tarrant County and the surrounding areas.
The Clinic was established with grants from the Alcon Foundation and the help of volunteer associates.
Child Vision Center is a diagnostic and research organization dedicated to helping children with vision-threatening eye diseases and disorders in collaboration with eye care teams at Fort Worth’s Cook Children’s Medical Center, Alexander Eye Clinic and Pediatric Eye Specialists.
The Alcon Foundation supports CVC’s International Fellowship Program, which trains eye care professionals to provide pediatric care in their home countries.
Cornerstone Assistance Network operates the nation's only free dedicated cataract center for uninsured patients. The Cataract Clinic serves low- and no-income individuals who cannot afford to pay for cataract surgery.
Alcon helped establish the Clinic with grants from the Alcon Foundation and donations of surgical equipment through Alcon Cares, the company’s product and equipment donation charitable entity. Alcon Cares continues its support today.
Helen Keller International saves and improves the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable by combating the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health and malnutrition. In the U.S., HKI provides free school-based vision screenings, prescription glasses and referrals for further eye care through their ChildSight program.
The Alcon Foundation supports HKI’s eye care programs with grants, while Alcon Cares provides product and equipment donations.
United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. With its focus on education, income and health, UW works to strengthen the foundational building blocks that impact quality of life in our communities.
UW’s 211 is a free, confidential service that helps people in the U.S. and Canada find local resources they need, including financial, domestic, nutrition and disaster relief.
The Alcon Foundation supports UW with grants and associate pledge contributions.
Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading eye health and safety organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight for people of all ages by addressing eye conditions. The organization provides public education about vision and eye health, and advocates for public policy change to increase access to care.
The Alcon Foundation provides grants to PB and its affiliate chapters to support vision programs.
SEE International provides sustainable medical, surgical and educational services through volunteer ophthalmic surgeons, with the goal of restoring sight to underserved people around the world. In the U.S., SEE’s Santa Barbara Vision Care Program provides uninsured local adults and children with free comprehensive eye exams, glasses, medicine and essential eye surgeries.
Grants from the Alcon Foundation and product and equipment donations through Alcon Cares support SEE’s training and patient care programs in 40+ countries.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology Foundation provides continuing education for eye care professionals and service programs that care for underserved patients. Through its EyeCare America program, 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists provide low- or no-cost eye care to qualified patients.
The Alcon Foundation supports the AAOF’s professional education and patient care programs with grants.