According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vision impairment is one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children in the US and yet, 35% of children have never seen an eye care professional. Research indicates that 25% of school age children have vision impairment. Nearsightedness, or myopia, is the most common refractive error of the eye, and it has become widespread in recent years. Children are becoming myopic earlier in life and faced with a much more rapid decline of vision. With early detection it is estimated that upwards of 80% of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured. However, detection is often limited by basic access to services, as research from the Campaign for Educational Equity reports that low income youth are at a greater risk of unrecognized and untreated vision problems and have a higher rate of unmet needs for vision care services.
While many US school districts provide vision screenings for children every other year in grades K-10, schools struggle to fulfill this mandate, and even when they do, many children do not receive the follow-up care they need. The National Commission on Vision & Health reports that 24% of parents do not follow up for full vision exams for their children due to a lack of financial resources. One of the most common reasons parents give for not taking children to the eye doctor is the cost of care. Besides expense, poor and low-income families often face additional barriers to accessing vision care for their children, including limited transportation and the inability to take time off from work—barriers that leave a vulnerable student population with undiagnosed and unaddressed vision problems.
 “Fast Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 Nov. 2009.<http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/fast_facts.htm>.
 “Access to Comprehensive Vision Care Services under SCHIP.” National Commission on Vision & Health. <http://www.visionandhealth.org/documents/FactsheetSCHIP123108M29FINAL.pdf>
 Zaba, JN. “Children’s Vision Care in the 21st Century and Its Impact on Education, Literacy, Social Issues, and the Workplace.” Journal of Behavioral Optometry 22 (2011): 39-41
“Visual Impairment and Blindness.” WHO. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/>.
 Basch, C.E. (2010). “Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap.” The Campaign for Educational Equity: Equity Matters: Research Review 6 (2010).
 “Vision Exams for Children Prior to Entering School.” National Commission on Vision and Health. < http://www.visionandhealth.org/documents/FactsheetVisionexams123008MAS26.pdf>