One in seven people can’t see clearly because they lack access to vision care and glasses. Whether a child or a parent, a student or an employee, an eye exam and a pair of glasses empowers these individuals, improving their ability to excel.

Anyone who’s put on a pair of glasses for the first time has experienced the life-changing power of having clear vision. For students, it’s the chance to learn to their potential in school. For adults, it’s the ability to earn more and provide for themselves and their families. At every phase of life, giving people the tools to see clearly unlocks a world of possibilities.

But in communities around the world, millions of children and adults without access to quality vision care are still waiting for their chance to thrive. In the United States, according to the American Optometric Association, 13.4 million school-aged children have vision problems, yet one in four students with a problem significant enough to impair their academic performance go undiagnosed. That’s in part because 35 percent of school-aged children, according to The Vision Care Institute, have never seen a vision care professional, and 40 percent of those who fail a vision screening don’t receive follow-up care, according to the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

BLURRED LENSE: Children like Guadalupe, as well as adults, who are suffering with visual impairment — and as a result, in their work — are subject to a limited quality of life.

Even among the 84 percent of school-based health centers that provide vision care screenings in the United States, according to the 2013-14 School-Based Health Alliance National Census, over 80 percent didn’t report conducting a comprehensive eye exam or dispensing a pair of glasses.

Changing those numbers is an integral part of helping children and their families reach their potential in school and work. Fortunately, there are organizations focused on bringing vision care to those in the U.S. and communities around the world.

Changing lives

Since 1988 OneSight, an independent global vision care nonprofit, has helped millions of children and adults in 46 countries see clearly. In addition to funding school-based vision centers in the U.S., the organization has opened 23 locally-run sustainable vision centers, which provide year-round access to quality vision care and glasses to over 5 million people, in underserved communities around the world. In the next five years, that number will grow to more than 20 million.

“We believe vision care can become readily available to every community, country and continent in our lifetime through sustainable models,” says Mony Iyer, OneSight’s Vice President and Executive Director.

Donating just $10 can provide a life-changing pair of glasses to a person in need; $30 can help provide both an eye exam and a pair of glasses. Help change a life today at

SEEING IT RIGHT: Guadalupe has benefited from OneSight's Focus on Success program, and is now moving through the world with clear vision, as well as the ability to tap into her full potential.

See how glasses can transform a student’s life

Vision care means a world of difference for girls like Guadalupe, a student at Cincinnati’s Fairfield Elementary School. Before Guadalupe got her first pair of glasses, she had to hold her schoolwork inches from her face in order to see it. Her teachers had been enlarging texts for her 10 times their normal size to compensate. Having compromised vision made school a constant challenge, as visual processing accounts for 80 percent of how children learn.

“Her vision was so compromised that she could not have learned much of anything before she got her glasses,” says Guadalupe’s teacher, Angie Laux.

OneSight has helped put millions of children on the path to success. Many, like Guadalupe, are getting the crucial care they need without ever having to leave school thanks to the Focus on Sight program, which funds grants for school-based vision centers in the United States and U.S. territories. At Fairfield’s school-based vision center, which is sponsored by Sears Optical, OneSight provided all the equipment, operational start-up and training. Nearly half of students at Fairfield City Schools live below the federal U.S. poverty line.

For Guadalupe, seeing clearly for the first time will help boost her progress in the classroom and deepen her connection to the world around her. She’ll enjoy doing puzzles because she can finally see the defined edges of the pieces, and she’ll have more fun looking at pictures in books now that she can see all of the vibrant colors on the page. The people around her can already see the difference her glasses are making to her confidence and academic progress.

“Guadalupe is the happiest person ever, always,” says Anna Devine, Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired at the Hamilton County Educational Service Center. “When I walked in, the first thing she did was show me her glasses.”