World Sight Day is an international day of awareness dedicated to eye health, held every October by the The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The impact of eye health goes beyond good vision: it can affect education, employment, physical and even social well-being.
Affordable, inclusive access to eye care is critical to maintaining good eye health, and this year the IAPB is calling for individuals, governments and organizations to come together to support universal access to eye care.
This World Sight Day, we at OGI Eyewear wish to recognize Phillips Eye Institute as an organization that has been doing exactly that.
How Phillips Eye Institute supports universal eye care through the E.Y.E Community Initiative program
In 2008, Phillips Eye Institute founded the Early Youth Eyecare (E.Y.E.) Community Initiative to make vision care accessible for students enrolled in Minneapolis public schools. The program expanded In 2014 to include schools in St. Paul and to serve a wider age range of youth. That same year, the Kirby Puckett Eye Mobile (KPEM) was established as a traveling eye clinic to service schools on-site, complete with two full examination rooms and optical shop.
E.Y.E provides screenings to students from pre-kindergarten through the beginning of ninth grade. Any additional exams, surgeries, or new or replacement glasses required are coordinated and funded through the E.Y.E. program. Transportation and interpreter services are also available to students as needed.
The impact of E.Y.E is staggering. Since its inception, almost eight thousand students have been beneficiaries of E.Y.E. Over 2,100 frames have been dispensed since the 2018-2019 school year—including the period of distance learning due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Over the 2021-2022 school year, E.Y.E has completed over 23,000 screenings, assisted over 1,000 students with vision care and provided 620 pairs of glasses; this 2022-2023 school year, Phillips Eye Institute is poised to do the same.
Cheryle Atkin, Community Programs Supervisor at Phillips Eye Institute, stated, “Our program goal is to remove vision problems as a major roadblock to learning, and eliminate barriers to eye care. We aim to help parents and guardians advocate for their child’s vision care, and to provide the services necessary to allow all students to achieve their full potential.”
OGI Eyewear’s commitment to supporting Phillips Eye Institute in its mission
OGI Eyewear is proud to be a donor and partner of the Phillips Eye Institute through the Optical Foundry’s Eye See You giving program. Since beginning our engagement with E.Y.E. right at its inception, we’ve provided a retail value of over $2 million in frames from our OGI, Seraphin and OGI Kids collections. This year, OGI Eyewear donated 750 frames—a retail value of approximately $140,000.
The donated frames permit E.Y.E to direct funds to other areas of care, amounting to thousands of dollars each year. And with vision referral rates climbing, OGI Eyewear’s contributions continue to amplify the E.Y.E. program’s impact.
“By donating high-quality, trendy frames to E.Y.E., OGI Eyewear hopes not only to provide some financial flexibility to the Phillips Eye Institute, but also to enable the students who need their services to express their personal style with pride,” said Rob Rich, CEO of OGI Eyewear.
Atkin commented, “E.Y.E. and KPEM are fully funded by the generosity of donors, and OGI Eyewear has supported our programs since inception. The OGI team is extremely community-minded, generous and easy to work with. Whatever we ask, they happily provide. We are hopeful that, as our programs continue to expand, OGI Eyewear will continue to be a key partner in providing vision care to students in our shared community.”
OGI Eyewear remains committed to supporting our friends at Phillips Eye Institute in their mission, with the hope that one day everyone everywhere will have equal access to eye care.
About The Eye See You Program
The power of a small business lies in the independence of its workers, uniqueness of its product assortment and the human-centered nature of its services. With such a close personal tie to their customers, small businesses directly feel the effects of social events and fluctuations. OGI Eyewear is here to help find a solution and help our customers to support independent optical communities during challenging times. At OGI Eyewear, we stand for clear vision—which includes seeing when people around the world need our help. In May 2020, we started our Eye See You program to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the years since, it has evolved into a support channel for various humanitarian, health and social causes, both in the U.S. and globally.
Learn more: https://www.ogieyewear.com/eye-see-you