David poses with his brand new glasses, which were made aboard Eyenstein, the mobile eye care clinic from Transitions and VSP.

When David was asked how he liked his new glasses, he said they were a little weird. He laughed as he moved the new pair up and down, noticing the difference instantly. It had been more than a year since his last vision screening and his prescription needed an update. He was asked what made the glasses weird, and he paused before answering. “They make everything clear.”

David was one of 94 fifth grade students at Central Elementary School in Plainfield, IL who received a comprehensive eye exam. The screenings were part of the 2012 Transitions/VSP Success is in Sight Tour as Bess the Book Bus and Eyenstein, the mobile eye care clinic from Transitions and VSP, visited four Chicago Area schools.

To start the sixth grade, Chicago students are required to have a dental and health screening before the first day of school. But the rules include nothing about a vision test. More than 80 percent of what students learn is taken in visually. An undetected vision problem can cause the student challenges in the classroom. Hoya Vision partnered with Transitions and VSP to provide volunteers and trained staff to accommodate the screenings at Guggenheim Elementary, Morgan Elementary, Richmond Intermediate and Central Elementary.

Dr. Cheryl Meyers adjusts the phoropter on a student during a comprehensive eye exam at Richmond Intermediate School.

Music rooms were transformed into exam rooms to accommodate the large number of screenings. Additional autorefractors and phoropters were brought in, and three optometrists were on hand for the screenings at each site.

Ryan Schilb, a teacher at Richmond Intermediate, knew that some of his students needed glasses. He could tell by the way they squinted at the blackboard and complained of headaches in class. A new seating chart wasn’t solving the problem, but help came from a visit from mobile clinic could. Seven of his students received a comprehensive eye exam and four came back with glasses.

“I had one student who wasn’t excited about getting glasses,” said Schilb. “But after having them on for an hour, he was saying that he couldn’t see anything without them.”

A student tries on frames after her eye exam. Eyenstein is a complete mobile clinic with an exam room, lens grinder and dozens of frames to choose from.

Throughout the four schools, 298 students had a comprehensive eye exam and nearly half needed glasses. Ninety one students walked off of Eyenstien with glasses fitted with Transitions lenses and another 41 had prescriptions sent to Hoya Lab to be filled.

Students read books while waiting to see an optometrist.

Vision and literacy go hand in hand. Before student students saw an optometrist, they came aboard Bess the Book Bus and picked out a brand new book. Over the course of the week, 1,953 books were given to students to build home and school libraries.