Kids Programs

Each year, POB impacts more than 13,000 community members through our evidence-based programs for children and adults with low vision. These programs include vision acuity and glaucoma screenings, eyeglasses distributions and fittings, educational events on vision health, low vision rehabilitation, resource assistance, support groups, and more.

Children’s Vision Screening Program

The Children’s Vision Screening program provides screenings for more than 7,000 local children, ages 3 to 18, each year. Screenings test for myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (a turned eye or crossed eyes).

Undetected vision problems among children often lead to permanent vision loss and learning difficulties. Screening at a young age allows for early detection and treatment that could prevent or slow vision loss.

Information for Parents

What happens at a vision screening?

We can screen for potential visual acuity and muscle imbalance problems using a photo-screening device. This is an automated, handheld device that captures a photo of your child’s eyes from a three-foot distance. It uses lights and sounds to help engage your child, and the screening takes less than 15 seconds.

Reading comprehension is not required at these vision screenings; we can screen children as young as three years old.

In certain instances, further screening may be required. This involves the child identifying letters from a six-foot distance. We use a single-use procluder (an eye cover) to screen one eye at a time. After, our screener faces the child and carefully tracks the motion of the child’s eye (from approximately one foot away) to screen for potential muscle imbalance issues.

The child is sent home with a form indicating whether they passed or need to see a vision professional.

How can I find financial aid for eye care?

Visit our Financial Resources page to find state and national programs that offer assistance for eye care. Also learn more about our Affordable Eyeglasses Program that helps children and adults obtain new eyeglasses at a nominal cost.

Information for Education Professionals

POB’s screening team has excellent rapport with children. All members of the Children’s Vision Screening Team have multiple years of experience with children and/or advanced education in early childhood education. Additionally, the Children’s Vision Screening Team is experienced in screening children with disabilities, including autism, ADHD, and hearing-impairments.

POB provides referrals to those children identified as having a vision problem and then follows up to ensure the children receive necessary medical attention. Each child is given the results of their vision screening to take home with them. A few days later, the parent/guardian of children with an identified vision problem will receive a detailed referral in the mail with their child’s score. This score is entered into a comprehensive database. The Screening Team will follow up with the family and the school within six weeks if POB has not yet received evaluation results from the referral doctor. If needed, screeners will assist with making a doctor’s appointment.

Request a Screening

The Children’s Vision Screening program is available to preschools, private and public schools, churches, synagogues, recreation centers, daycare centers, and Head Start programs. To request a screening at your site, please contact:

Claudia Wood

Claudia Wood
Program Manager, Children’s Vision Screening
(202) 234-1010, ext. 225
cwood@youreyes.org

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Pop-Up Vision Clinic for Children

In response to community need, POB launched the Pop-Up Vision Clinic for Children in 2018. This program provides free vision screenings, eye exams from a volunteer eye doctor, and prescription eyeglasses to school-age children in need at schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the region.

Screenings test for distance acuity and common pediatric eye disorders, such as amblyopia and strabismus. Since it began, the program has provided more than 1,400 free vision screenings, 500 free eye exams, and nearly 1,000 pairs of free prescription eyeglasses.

How does the Pop-Up Vision Clinic for Children work?
  1. A child with a vision challenge is identified (either by our host, such as a nurse at a school, or by our screening program).
  2. The child is examined by a volunteer licensed eye doctor on site at the host location.
  3. If the prescription requires treatment with eyeglasses, the child selects their own frames from our collection. A licensed optician fits and measures the child for their glasses to ensure a proper fit.
  4. New eyeglasses are delivered to the host location approximately 2 to 3 weeks later.

For Schools and Nonprofit Organizations

What school or community is eligible for a no-cost POB pop-up children vision program?

Our program is generally provided to schools and nonprofit organizations serving children of families with significant need. This program is provided on a case-by-case basis and is dependent upon program and volunteer eye doctor availability. Contact us for more information using the information below.

Can my school’s Kirwan Commission Education Funding (also known as “Kirwan funds”) be used for this program in Maryland?

Yes. Please contact us using the information below for details about utilizing your school’s Kirwan funds.

What does a host location need to provide for a Children’s Pop-Up Vision Clinic?

Host locations are asked to:

  • Provide space (contact us for space requirements).
  • Distribute and collect parent/guardian consent forms.
  • Promoting the Clinic within their community.
  • Ensure that the children served by this program are financially eligible to receive these services at no cost.
  • Provide two volunteers for the day of the Clinic.

Please refer to the form Community Questionnaire/Requests to Organizations for more information on this topic.

Our students have already been screened. Can we still participate in this program?

Yes. Our program has three phases:

Phase 1: Vision screening
Phase 2: Eye exams provided by a licensed volunteer eye doctor and eyeglasses selection coordinated by a licensed optician
Phase 3: Eyeglasses dispensed and fitted by a licensed optician on site

What is the minimum and maximum number of children your program can serve?

Many factors contribute to the amount of time needed per child to provide our services, including the child’s age and eye health. Our vision screening program provides one-day services to groups of 20 to 150. For eye exams and eyeglasses, we request a minimum of 30 children (with signed consent forms).

How long do the vision clinics generally last?

Many factors contribute to the amount of time needed per child to provide our services, including the child’s age and eye health. In general, 12 children can be screened an hour, while four children can be examined by an eye doctor in an hour. Our Clinics generally last four to six hours. Depending on the number of children and the needs of the school/host location, vision screenings and eye exams may or may not take place on the same day. Because eyeglasses must be ordered, eyeglasses fitting and dispensing happens two to four weeks later.

Are signed parent/guardian consent forms required?

A signed consent form is not required for a child receiving only a vision screening. A signed consent form is required for an eye exam.

How soon can I have a vision clinic organized in my community?

Scheduling is based on a number of factors, including volunteer eye doctor availability, and in general, takes at least six to eight weeks to organize a clinic. We also engage other professionals to support the program, including eye doctors in training (medical residents), medical students, ophthalmic technicians, etc. This coordination takes a considerable amount of time and effort. It is our goal to bring a clinic to your community as soon as possible.

What type of eye doctors volunteer during the clinics?

Volunteer eye doctors include licensed pediatric and general ophthalmologists and optometrists.

For Eye Care Professionals

We are seeking volunteer eye doctors, ophthalmic technicians, and opticians to help out during our Pop-Up Clinics. If you are an eye care professional and are interested in volunteering with our program, please visit our For Eye Care Professionals page.

For more information, contact:

Eszter Szabó

Eszter Szabo
Director, Mobile Clinic
(202) 234-1010, ext. 225
eszabo@youreyes.org

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Affordable Eyeglasses Clinic

POB’s Affordable Eyeglasses Clinic provides prescription eyeglasses to individuals who need eyeglasses but cannot afford their full cost. Eyeglasses start at $35, including frames. Each year, we provide more than 1,000 local residents with eyeglasses at a price they can afford. We have proudly provided this vital service to our local community for more than 20 years.

The Eyeglasses Clinic is located at 415 2nd Street NE, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20002. The Clinic is open for visits by appointment only. Call (202) 269-0203, option 1, to schedule an appointment.

If you are enrolled in or eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to receive an eye exam or eyeglasses at no cost to you from a Medicaid-approved provider. To learn more, see our frequently asked questions below, and visit our page on Financial Resources for Eye Care.

In addition to providing eyeglasses at POB headquarters, we also provide eyeglasses to clients of So Others Might Eat (SOME) each Wednesday. For more information about SOME’s medical clinic, contact (202) 797-8806.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a prescription for eyeglasses?

Individuals interested in our services must have a current prescription for eyeglasses that is less than one (1) year old. We do not provide eye exams. Please bring your prescription with you to your appointment. Click here to learn more about Financial Resources for Eye Care.

Does the Eyeglasses Clinic provide eye exams?

We do not provide eye exams. Individuals interested in our services must have a current prescription for eyeglasses that is less than one (1) year old. Please bring your prescription with you to your appointment. If you need an eye exam and cannot afford one, visit our page on Financial Resources for Eye Care.

How do I schedule an appointment?

You can schedule an appointment by calling (202) 269-0203, option 1. Appointments are required for both your initial consultation and to pick up your eyeglasses.

Can I walk in to get eyeglasses without an appointment?

No, we are unable to serve clients without an appointment.

How much does a pair of eyeglasses cost?

Eyeglasses start at $35 for a basic pair of eyeglasses with single vision or bifocal lenses, with frames included. Additional options cost extra. An application for financial assistance for those unable to afford our nominal fee is accessible to social service agencies that apply on behalf of their clients. Learn more about financial resources for eye care.

Individuals under 18 may be eligible to receive a free pair of eyeglasses with a special referral from the POB Children’s Vision Screening program.

Do you provide contact lenses?

No, we do not provide contact lenses at this time.

Do you accept Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurance?

No insurance is accepted. Payment is required at time of order by cash, credit card, or money order.

However, if you are eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid, you may be able to get an eye exam and prescription eyeglasses at no cost through an approved Medicaid provider.

If you are already enrolled in Medicaid, call the phone number listed on the back of your insurance card and ask how to get an eye exam and/or eyeglasses.

If you are not yet enrolled in Medicaid, contact the offices below for more information.
District of Columbia (DC): (202) 442-5988 or dhcf.dc.gov.
Maryland: (855) 642-8572 or mmcp.health.maryland.gov.
Virginia: (855) 242-8282 or coverva.org.

How do I get to the Eyeglasses Clinic?

The Eyeglasses Clinic is located at 415 2nd Street NE, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20002. The Clinic is open for visits by appointment only.

We are just one block away from Union Station (MetroRail Red Line). The nearest MetroBus stop (served by the 96, D6, and X8 routes) is at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue NE and 2nd Street NE. The nearest DC Circulator stop is at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue NE and Columbus Circle (Orange Route/Union Station-Congress Heights Route). The nearest landmark is an Exxon gas station, located directly next to our building. Use the WMATA Trip Planner for additional directions.

Limited metered street parking is available after 9:30 a.m. on Massachusetts Avenue NE, 3rd Street NE, and 4th Street NE. Additional metered parking is available on the streets surrounding our office. Limited free 2-hour parking may be available on certain sections (between 4th Street NE and 3rd Street NE) of C Street NE.

Please pay close attention to posted parking regulations, as they are strictly enforced.

The nearest paid private parking facility is the Union Station Parking Garage (30 Massachusetts Avenue NE).

I represent a social service agency. How can I apply for financial assistance for my client?

An application for financial assistance for those unable to afford our nominal fee is accessible to social service agencies that apply on behalf of their clients.

If you represent a social service agency, please contact us at (202) 269-0203, option 1, or eyeglasses@youreyes.org to request an application. After you complete and return the application to us, the client must make an appointment to receive eyeglasses at our clinic.

Do you accept donations of used eyeglasses? Can you recycle my old eyeglasses?

Yes, we collect used eyeglasses and may use their parts to repair glasses at our Clinic. Some eyeglasses are sent to the Lions Eyeglasses Recycling Center. Donations of unbroken eyeglasses are accepted at our Clinic and other locations throughout the region. Visit our section on Eyeglasses Recycling to learn more.

For more information, contact:

(202) 269-0203, option 1
eyeglasses@youreyes.org