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Miami Lighthouse on a mission to ensure underserved children have access to quality eye care

By Chelsea Jones

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    MIAMI, Florida (WFOR) — The gift of sight is something easily taken for granted.

Not so at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired which is on a mission to ensure that all underserved children in Florida have access to quality eye care.

That’s why its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program performs free eye exams and gives out free prescription glasses to low-income school children. So far, they served over 200,000 students across Florida.

“We assess their vision, assess the health of their eyes, we dilate every student, so every student gets eye drops and we determine if they need glasses or if there’s a particular health problem. We may need to refer them to a specialist,” said Dr. Leon Nehmad.

Nehmad, a doctor of optometry for more than 30 years, performs the exams out of a little white van that travels the state.

The Charles Drew K-8 Center recently received a visit Principal Selena Volcy said she noticed her students having some issues.

“As I do my classroom walk-throughs, I noticed that many of our students were struggling to see the board, struggling to read the text,” she said.

Just last week Dr. Nehmad diagnosed glaucoma in a child, that’s what makes this program so important.

“Many of the students do not really know what good vision is supposed to be. They’re very young, so a student may think they’re seeing well but they may not be seeing well,” said Dr. Nehmad.

First comes the exam, a diagnosis, and then treatment. Then they can get back to learning with a fresh set of eyes.

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