CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Conexus Vision is an organization that helps children across Central Virginia see better. This impact could be seen at Cumberland Elementary School last month, where students got fitted for their new glasses inside of a classroom.

This was the first time many of those children were able to see clearly.  

Conexus’s Mobile Vision Clinics, partner with local optometrists to give eye exams at schools where students may face barriers to getting one. If prescribed, students are able to choose their own pair of glasses.

Tracey Stinson, the school nurse, said she’s aware that some students at the school might have struggled in the past and hopes that will all change with the partnership with Conexus Vision.

“My little kids with headaches, stomach aches all of that can be from vision problems,” she said. “There are some children that say that their eyes hurt.  And if they say that they have pain across their eyes or they are straining you can tell that some of them are having difficulties — but it can cause other problems.  It can cause anxiety because they can’t see in the classroom and they are troubled by that.”

conexus vision cumberland elementary school
Conexus Vision is an organization that helps local children see better. This impact can be seen at Cumberland Elementary School. (Photo: Matt DiNardo)

During the COVID catch-up, Conexus screened children in classes ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade.

“We saw like 400 students and 54 kids are going to get glasses because of their services,” Stinson said. “This is just an awesome blessing and I am glad to have made the partnership with them and to be able to provide this for the kids.”

Ginny Gills, the principal of Cumberland Elementary School, said the results are immediate.

“The attentiveness is there,” Gills said. “Sometimes it is a relational piece that we are able to observe as well. But for sure we know there is an academic impact and we are able to see that, right away.”

The principal said her students are excited about the vision exams and new glasses.  

“The students are actually overjoyed. They can see,” Gills said. “They almost have a hop or a skip in their step but even the beauty is when they enter their classrooms that their peers celebrate with them.”

She said the parents are grateful for the partnership as well.

“The access to medical care of any type in rural areas is a challenge and it is especially a challenge for us,” Gills said. “So, there is almost a disbelief that this can really happen and then really I am not getting a bill from it? So they are certainly grateful for this opportunity.”

Conexus Vision is a 501(c)(3) organization and its work is funded by donations from Virginia communities. Any amount helps, and a gift of just $10 can provide a child with a VisionCheck screening. You can make a donation to the Gift of Light Campaign here.

conexus vision cumberland elementary school
Earlier this month, students were getting fitted for their new glasses inside of a classroom. For many of those children, this was their first time being able to see clearly.  (Photo: Matt DiNardo)