The ability to see well is important to the social, intellectual, and emotional development of children. The University of Waterloo’s Optometry Clinic (School of Optometry and Vision Science) partnered with the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (YAAACE) to provide vision screening and comprehensive eye examinations for children and youth. The summer day camp program in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto is in a neighbourhood experiencing a variety of health and socio-economic barriers, including access to eye care.
The event took place over two days (August 14 and 15, 2017) at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, and served approximately 175 children and youth. 58 pairs of glasses were prescribed to those who failed the screening. Over 50 optometry students, optometrists and staff volunteers provided care. Essilor Technologies volunteered their services and donated glasses. Innova Medical Ophthalmics transported and set up 3 full lanes of equipment for eye examinations.
Devon Jones, lead for YAAACE expressed his gratitude on behalf of the children and their families: “Thank you for your commitment and generosity. This was truly an amazing opportunity for our students and community".
Several options for ongoing optometric care were offered to the children and youth to whom corrective glasses were dispensed. Contact information for local optometrists was provided to facilitate follow-up eye care in their community.
Clinic Director, Dr. André Stanberry, spoke from the heart in expressing appreciation to the volunteers and corporate partners. The positive impact that our actions had on those in attendance at the event are long lasting. Dr. Stanberry also expressed an “ongoing commitment to undertaking further vision outreach initiatives for vulnerable populations.”
"Community engagement is an invaluable educational experience that enables our students to broaden their perspective while providing a valued health care service,” shared Dr. Stanley Woo, Director of the School of Optometry and Vision Science. “I couldn’t be more proud of Dr. Stanberry’s leadership and the commitment and enthusiasm of our faculty and students".