Group provides free eye exams, glasses to students in need

ETTRICK, Va. -- It’s hard to see a bright future, when you can’t even see the blackboard. It's easy to see how poor vision can lead to poor grades, optometrist Dr. Samantha Del Campo said.

"It causes difficulty with reading. Difficulty in general," she said. "So, most of your information learned in school is through 80 percent of your vision."

While doctors recommend a yearly eye exam for children after the age of three, some families can find it difficult to afford doctor's visits and buying glasses.

Communities in Schools (CIS) is helping ease that burden for families in some Chesterfield County schools.

Volunteers are providing free eye exams and glasses with the help of Conexus.

In its simplest form, the mission of CIS is to prevent kids from dropping out of school when they get older.

"Imagine you are sitting in class and can't see the board”, Ashley Hall, with CIS, said. "Not only are you not learning, it's probably likely you're going to be disrupting everybody else in class, right? We've had a number of our teachers when our kids get fitted say I saw an immediate improvement in behavior issues with that kiddo."

Ashley Hall

"It can actually correlate to your score on an intelligence test, which is amazing," Dr. Del Campo said. "That just kind of shows you how important your vision is in order to have good school performance."

Volunteer Christopher Williams said he loved helping kids pick the right pair of glasses.

"You can tell exactly when that moment is, they light up," he said. "You can just tell they don't even want to try on anything else, it's always that pair."

Something as simple as an eye exam can help students see a brighter future... and that's Building Better Minds.

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs Wednesday on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.