Vizavance, established in 1965, is the only nonprofit organization in all 77 counties of Oklahoma dedicated to advancing children's education through vision.

COMMERCE – Vizavance, formerly Prevent Blindness Oklahoma, will provide a free vision screening at Commerce Middle School this month.

Vizavance, established in 1965, is the only nonprofit organization in all 77 counties of Oklahoma dedicated to advancing children’s education through vision.

A free vision screening will be provided to Commerce Middle School students on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

The screening is part of the nonprofit's Children's Vision Screening Program and an over 30-year collaboration with the Oklahoma Masons. Currently, 191 Lodges assist with screenings in their communities.

The Oklahoma Masonic Charity Foundation has contributed over $3 million to fund the Partners in Prevention Program since its inception. Local lodges have also helped raise money to purchase a Spot camera for their local screener’s use.

Following the screenings, a letter will be sent home with students if an issue is detected referring them to a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

"Twenty-five percent of school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem," said Vizavance President and CEO Dianna Bonfiglio. "And 40 percent of children who fail an initial vision screening do not receive appropriate follow-up care."

Bonfiglio reported that during the 2015-2016 school year Vizavance screened some 365,156 children throughout the state of Oklahoma and of those some 36,368 were referred with possible vision problems for a comprehensive eye exam.

She also advised that beyond combating vision loss, proper vision screenings could help boost academic performance and even curb negative attitudes toward school.

"Vizavance strives to educate the public on the importance of eye screenings. Many children will improve academically with vision correction," said Bonfiglio. "If vision is the problem, early detection and proper correction can prevent permanent vision loss and negative attitudes toward school."

For the 2017-2018 school year, Vizavance has adopted the theme "You Are the Key to Our Success," to motivate parents and caregivers to follow through with vision referrals.

"We want to continue to encourage school staff and parents to make sure that children who are referred receive an exam and glasses if needed."

To learn more about Vizavance, vision resources for children, and upcoming events visit https://www.vizavance.org.