Unlike his predecessor who banked on his medi ampire, the current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has hit upon the charity show that will provide 65,000 students in the city public schools with eye-testing and free eye-glasses.
In partnership with Warby Parker, the move aims at removing poor eyesight barrier to education, the Democratic mayor said in a statement.
Covering the middle and high school students in all 130 Community Schools, which are among the city’s lowest-achieving schools, the mayor said, schools will now offer social services in an effort to help low-income students achieve a better education.
“For thousands of children who are ready to learn, but whose vision may be holding them back, the future just got clearer and brighter,” de Blasio said.
About 20,000 students will receive eyeglasses from Warby Parker in the next four years. “Our goal is to provide these students with their first pair of glasses for free so they can experience the immediate and direct positive impact that a pair of glasses can have on their life, especially academics,” said Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker co-founder and its co-CEO.
The company has a reason to do so. One of its founders lost his glasses during a trip and spent the first semester of graduate school squinting in class as they are expensive for him then to replace.
In the past, free eye-testing was limited to the city’s pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and elementary school students in order to detect eye sight problems early. Now, extended to middle school and high school students for the first time, the new move is likely to help 65,000 more students, said the statement.
The mayor said the New York city has allocated $10 million for the tests over the next four years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says poor vision is one of the most disabling conditions among children.