Free eye care available for children

HOUSTON

If you don't have insurance, paying out-of-pocket expenses is pricey. But there is help out there for kids that includes a full eye exam and prescription glasses.

Treyveon Pittman had trouble with his right eye, but he got help through VSP Vision Care. The non-profit launched in August an eye pledge campaign in August, which will provide up to 50,000 free eye exams and glasses to Boys and Girls Club kids around the country, including right here in Houston.

"For every pledge that people do on this website, a child will get a free eye examination and they will also get the eye wear if necessary," optometrist Dr. David Garza said.

Here is how you can help: you can give back by taking the eye pledge at www.seemuchmore.com. For every eye pledge, a gift certificatevalid for a comprehensive eye exam and, if needed, a pair of glasses, will be donated by VSP. No monetary donation is required -- it's just a pledge.

Parents who need to get help for their kids are asked to contact their local Boys and Girls Club. That's what Tameka Pittman did and she has noticed a huge difference.

"His grades are better because he can see what he's reading instead of guessing what he's reading," Treyveon's mother, Tameka Pittman said.

"They help me see better, they helped me read better and understand the problems," Treyveon said.

Another program that offers free or reduced costs in Houston is a non-profit called Eye Care for Kids.

"We do everything possible to make sure that the kids will be able to have glasses if they find financially they cannot afford to see the doctor," optometrist and Eye Care for Kids founder Dr. Irving Wishnow said.

Dr. Wishnow, along with participating optometrists all over Houston, volunteer their services to these children.

"We average about 3,500 children a year, and we have served over 25,000 children all together," Dr. Wishnow said.

This is how the program works. Eye Care for Kids works exclusively with school nurses employed by the 56 school districts in eight counties in our area. If your child needs help, the school nurse will help.

"She would submit an application directly to Eye Care for Kids and then we could go from there," said Heidi Suprun, who works with the organization.

If you want to contact Eye Care for Kids to see if you qualify, call 713-728-5437 or To learn about the other program, which VSP is partnering with the Greater Houston Boys and Girls Club, call 713-868-3426 or go to their website.

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