10:56 AM

DentaQuest Joins Youngstown, Ohio Leaders in City-wide School Vision Program

DentaQuest joined United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Essilor Vision Foundation, Sight for All United, Classic Optical, Youngstown City Health Department, Youngstown City Schools, Youngstown Community School, Liberty school, and the Lions Club at Volney Elementary School this December to celebrate the success of the Youngstown Ohio School District Vision Program, which brings free vision screenings and eyeglasses to children throughout the city.

The United Way program brought together academic and community leaders to address a critical learning issue facing children in inner-city schools: children failing annual school-based eye screenings were not receiving follow-up eye exams. Crisis turned into collaboration. Classic Optical, the Essilor Vision Foundation, Sight for All United, the Youngstown Lions Club and DentaQuest helped fund and launch a school-based vision pilot in two schools in 2016. Today the program serves eleven Youngstown-area schools.

So much of a child’s learning starts with vision, yet one in four schoolchildren in the United States has a vision problem significant enough to impede learning. “DentaQuest often cites the impact of painful dental disease on a child’s ability to stay focused in school and learn,” explains Dr. John Davis, Vision Director for DentaQuest’s EyeQuest vision product. “Similarly, children experiencing vision issues misbehave out of frustration over their inability to keep pace with their peers. Data in Youngstown showed this in attendance rates, discipline referrals and standardized test results.”

“DentaQuest’s EyeQuest vision group is committed to ensuring access to quality eye care,” adds Mandy Gilbertson, Network and Operations Manager. “That is critically important for all ages – especially for young children in the classroom. It is a privilege for us to support the Youngstown community and ensure that children get the necessary vision exams to monitor eye health and glasses to support their learning.”

Through the United Way’s Vision Program, about 300 qualifying students from kindergarten through fifth grade will receive two pairs of glasses — one for home and another for school. Screenings were done in September by more than 200 volunteers trained by the Ohio Department of Health. Eye doctors visited each school for follow-up eye exams in December. Children picked out frames and will receive their glasses after the holidays. Essilor Vision Foundation provides lenses. Classic Optical provides frames and manufactures the eyeglasses.

Data shows that children who receive eyeglasses have a higher average attendance rate, fewer discipline referrals, and better improvement rates on standardized test results in English and Math. “What some may see as a simple remedy — providing eyeglasses — is making a major positive impact on our students,” said Stacia Erdos, vice president of strategic planning at United Way.

About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven oral health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® – our all-in approach to better care, expanded access, value-based financing, and innovative solutions. We manage dental and vision benefits for 27+ million Americans and provide direct patient care through our network of more than 85 oral health centers in 5 states. We provide outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals nationwide. And, we've invested more than $200 million in grants and programs to achieve measurably healthier communities across the country. By advancing prevention-focused oral health, we will achieve better overall health for everyone. Learn more at www.DentaQuest.com and follow us on social: Twitter @DentaQuest, Facebook www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Instagram @Inside_DentaQuest, and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/DentaQuest.