Free eyeglasses program begins in Cowichan schools

The eagerly-awaited roll out of a program that will help kindergarten students get free eyeglasses has finally begun at the Cowichan Valley school district.

"We’ve received the information packages from the BC Optometrists Society so that the Kindergarten Eye See Eye Learn Program will be rolling out," schools superintendent Joe Rhodes said at the Nov. 5 board meeting.

All elementary kindergarten students will be eligible for a free eye exam through the program and, should they need prescription glasses as a result of that, those will be provided by the Optometrists Society.

"There are a number of local participating optometrists, including Chemainus Family Eyecare, South Cowichan Eyecare and Eye Design Optometry, Purely Optometry and Lake Cowichan Eyecare.

It’s really an exciting opportunity for our kindergarten kids who often go undetected for many years.

This information will be coming home in letters to parents inviting them to go see an optometrist," Rhodes said.

Trustee Mike McKay agreed. "These are such good people. It showed remarkable commitment when they made the proposal to us [earlier this year]."

Rhodes said such testing is important too "because one in four students may have vision challenges at the age of five and six."

McKay saw the idea as part of a new trend.

"This is one of those examples of seeing something that could be a barrier and removing it as early as possible. For the vision, this is great. Our awareness of this need is growing by leaps and bounds," he said.