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‘It’s really important:’ Children in Milwaukee receive free eye screenings, glasses

MILWAUKEE -- Children learn most of what they know through their eyesight, but oftentimes, vision problems go undiscovered.  A Wisconsin nonprofit is working to identify the need for glasses -- and act on it.

Trisha Houghton

"Most kids don't complain, so parents don't know they're struggling," said Tami Radwill, CEO of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin.

At St. Augustine Prep on Tuesday, Oct. 9, students reviewed their A's and B's -- but not in a classroom or on a chalkboard. Instead, through free vision screenings to promote back-to-school health.

"I think it's really important for them in school -- and learning and encouraging learning, and eyes are really such an important, vital piece of that," said Trisha Houghton, United Healthcare director of clinical quality.

"I'm actually the mom of a child who got caught at a vision screening, so it's very near and dear to me," said Radwill.

Pediatric screeners with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin checked the vision of 375 students in K-4 through fourth grade.

Tami Radwill

"In the state of Wisconsin, there's not a law or a mandate that vision screening needs to happen in schools," said Radwill.

The nonprofit is able to step in -- thanks to a $5,000 grant from United Healthcare.

"My son was caught at 3. He was at a child care center, and they think from birth on, his right eye never worked for him, so that's why I do the work that I do. We were lucky," said Radwill.

Lucky, for a second chance at 20/20.

"Some things we can correct early, and if we can't catch it early, as in my son's case, it can be corrected and they have life-long vision then after that," said Radwill.

After the screenings, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin works to provide free glasses to students who need them.