In focus: Vision company gives free glasses to children in Central Va.

Conexus is making education clearer, literally, for thousands of area kids.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - We all want kids to succeed in schools, but vision is one of the surprising barriers, especially in underserved areas.

Conexus Vision is now making education clearer, literally, for thousands of area kids.

At Southampton Elementary School, it’s a good day. Thirty students are getting brand-new glasses for free.

In many cases, seeing what they are learning finally comes into focus.

“It’s pretty significant,” said Tim Gresham with Conexus. “What happens in the classroom when kids can’t see? A lot of times, they’ll just fall, you know, fall away from their education if they’re not able to see the board or to see the book. And the other kids are getting it, and they’re not. It can be frustrating to the child. They don’t really know why they’re not getting it.”

Conexus comes into schools around Central Virginia and provides free eye exams and glasses for kids who need them, screening about 85,000 kids across Virginia. At one mobile clinic, about 5,500 were seen in the Richmond area.

“One of the nice things about our program is that we’re in the schools every year with the screenings, and then our mobile vision clinic comes back every year as well,” said Gresham.

It’s a team effort. VSP provides free frames. Others offer free lab work.

And Conexus meets kids where they are, so the focus can be getting back to being kids and learning.

“So it’s a pretty neat experience,” said Gresham. “And when you look at those faces light up, when they’re just like it’s like a whole new world. It is. It changes the trajectory of whatever else that I think we would love to know.”

Gresham says 40% of the kids they screen at Richmond Public Schools fail vision tests. Numbers were similar in Petersburg and the parts of Chesterfield the program serves. And all those screened and failed kids can see clearly with new eyeglasses.

In education, that’s priceless.

If you want to donate to Conexus to help kids get free glasses, visit here.