Healthy vision is an important part of reading and learning. If a child suffers from an untreated vision problem, the child may have trouble in school.
“Children who are found to have vision issues may also have reading issues or vice versa,” said Brenda Dunn, program manager of New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight (NMLOKS), a Las Cruces-based nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and treating vision problems in children throughout the state.
Unfortunately, many families face significant barriers to accessing vision care and eyeglasses — like lack of health insurance or the inability to afford services. To help address this problem, NMLOKS and the New Mexico Lions Crane Reading Program (LCRP) are working to address reading and vision problems by providing eye screenings and referrals for exams and glasses at no cost to children in need.
This year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) awarded the New Mexico Lions Crane Reading Program a $19,625 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant, which covers the cost of eye exams and glasses for children 3-7 years-old and adults who do not have health insurance or Medicaid. So far this year, the grant from BCBSNM has covered nearly 160 eye exams and/or glasses for children and adults who may not otherwise have received vision care.