Teachers Federation and OneSight, With Help From SUNY Optometry, Launch 'Project NYSee' for Students


OneSight’s executive director, Jason Singh, OD, with UFT’s president,
Michael Mulgrew.

NEW YORK—New York City’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and OneSight, a global vision care nonprofit, kicked off Project NYSee this week, a new partnership providing New York City public school students with sustainable access to the quality vision care and eyeglasses. Project NYSee will continue as part of The NYC Community Learning Schools Initiative (NYCCLSI). UFT and OneSight are working with local health partners and The SUNY College of Optometry to open two self-sustaining school-based vision centers at PS 188 in Brooklyn and PS 18 in the Bronx this fall.

This week, pre-screened students from PS335/MS584 and surrounding schools received comprehensive eye exams onboard EyeLeen, OneSight’s state-of-the-art mobile vision center and optical lab sponsored by EyeMed Vision Care. “Local doctors, technicians and teams from EyeMed, LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and other community partners are volunteering their services to support area children,” said Donna Sullivan, volunteer clinic coordinator and regional general manager with LensCrafters, who has supported OneSight with employee volunteers and funding since 1988.

A happy recipient of the UFT,
OneSight Vision Van Services.

In addition to NYC, this year OneSight’s Vision Vans will travel to Rochester and Fishkill in New York and will serve students across 15 other states including California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin.

While OneSight Vision Clinics provide important short-term solutions for students in need, the long-term focus of Project NYSee, organizers said, is to provide sustainable, year-round access to quality vision care as part of The NYC Community Learning Schools Initiative (NYCCLSI). NYCCLSI aims to improve student achievement by meeting the health, safety and social service needs of students, parents and communities by facilitating partnerships between public schools, nonprofits and local businesses and government agencies to connect vital services to public school buildings. After starting with six schools, the initiative expanded in the 2013/14 academic year to 16 schools and continues to grow.

“In New York City where 1.1 million children are part of the public school system, 40 percent of families in the district are living below the poverty line and one in 20 students is homeless,” said Karen Alford, UFT vice president for Elementary Education. “Children who see better, learn better and we’re thrilled to be working with OneSight to add vision care to our Community Learning Schools model through Project NYSee. Providing our families with access to quality vision care is such a simple thing that will have huge impact on the learning potential and lives of our students.”

As part of NYCCLSI, OneSight is working with local health partners and The SUNY College of Optometry to open two school-based vision centers. The OneSight Vision Center at PS188 will be operated by Lutheran Family Health Centers with sponsorship and volunteer support from LensCrafters. The OneSight Vision Center at PS 18 will be operated by Montefiore Medical Center with sponsorship and volunteer support from Sunglass Hut. Each center will serve approximately 5,000 students annually providing comprehensive eye exams, glasses, fittings, adjustments and medical eyecare with an onsite optometrist, ophthalmic technician and optician.

The SUNY College of Optometry will support the recruitment and hiring of pediatric optometrists as well as provide fourth year students to expand capacity and study/report on the impact of healthy vision on academic results.

These partnerships will build on an existing vision screening program provided by the Office of School Health, a joint program of the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which currently screens pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students, and provides follow-up for the most severe eye problems and optometry care where needed.