For the last 20 years, volunteers from the non-profit organization known as OneSight have been donating more than just their time when it comes to vision care. This year, the Marana Unified School District has been fortunate enough to be selected as the latest beneficiary of the program’s outreach.
Approximately 126 Tucson students, including 31 students from MUSD were selected to receive free eye exams and eyewear when EyeLeen, and OneSight’s Vision Van, made a stop in Tucson on Feb. 15. The 40-foot van, equipped with all the necessities for eye exams and eyewear, travels across the United States each year, stopping at various communities in need.
On Wednesday, the Vision Van stopped at Victory Assembly Church on Ruthrauff Road.
The students, who were pre-chosen from Picture Rocks Intermediate, Desert Winds Elementary, Roadrunner Elementary, and Marana Career and Technical High School, arrived soon after to receive their complimentary eye exams and eyewear.
OneSight works closely each year with school nurses and health directors to determine which children are most in need of vision care.
After a series of tests to measure depth perception, color, and focus, Marana students made their way onto EyeLeen, where two eye doctors ran final exams before students were able to make lens selections. Students had a wide variety of glasses to choose from, including brands like Ray-Ban, Versace, and Oakley.
Tamara Crawley, a spokesperson for MUSD, said the charity program aligns with the goals of the school district.
“We are extremely appreciative of the outreach,” she said. “Our district is committed to educating students, but we are just as committed to meeting the health needs of our students. This organization provides us with an opportunity to do that.”
Kathe Sudano, MUSD Health Services Director, said the volunteers of OneSight make a big difference, particularly since the economy is putting financial strains on many families.
“A lot of insurance companies don’t cover the cost of glasses,” she said. “In times like this, some families just cannot afford the costs that come with vision care.”
Since it began, OneSight has provided free vision care to millions of adults and children nationally and across the world.
Wendy Lovin, the Tucson Clinic Coordinator for OneSight, has been affiliated with the charity’s parent company, Luxottica, for ten years, and has been trying to get Tucson back on the map in regards to charitable eye care. This year, her hard work paid off, bringing the Vision Van back to Tucson for the first time in four years.
Lovin recalled a pivotal moment with OneSight on a charity trip to San Diego, where she met a nine year-old girl who was clearly in need of glasses.
“I asked her if she had glasses, and she said she did, but that her mother had given them to her brother because he was in high school and said he needed them more,” said Lovin. That was when I became super passionate about doing this. Students are extremely limited in their learning opportunities if they can’t see.”
Lovin also manages a Pearle Vision, one of the latest companies to join the OneSight organization. The OneSight group is made up of LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Sears Optical, and Target Optical, among others.
These companies have ongoing charity events and recycling programs in-store throughout the year in an effort to continue the goals of OneSight.