PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — From screening to eye exams, Conexus Vision has provided students free eye care, as well as glasses, for the last three and a half years.

On Thursday, their Mobile Vision Center stopped by Lakemont Elementary School in Petersburg to fit their 10,000th pair.

“We have a lot of families and students that aren’t able to get to the eye doctor, so just having this convenience for them and providing this vital service is amazing,” said Jamaal Ellison, Director of Program Operations for Petersburg Schools.

In Virginia, one out of every three students has bad eyesight and doesn’t even know it, making learning difficult from a young age.

“If you can’t see the board and see what you’re reading, then how can you learn?” Ellison said.

Conexus Vision starts screening in Kindergarten at select schools and re-tests the children every two years until they’re in 10th grade.

“Most parents are very grateful that they don’t have to take off work. They don’t have to call and make an appointment,” said Robin Hamlin, Coordinator of the Petersburg Schools Heath Program. “We do the screening in the classroom, and then we get the eye exams done with that great mobile clinic.” 

A good pair of glasses can cost between $200 and $400 — however, Conexus Vision partners with VSP Vision Care for free glasses from brands such as Nike and Disney.

“When they look in the mirror and see themselves for the first time in their glasses, it’s a real self-esteem booster,” says Hamlin.

The CEO and President of Conexus Vision, Tim Gresham, created this organization to bring eye doctors to the school and help families in poverty receive free eye care.

“We can change the trajectory of their life because they’re hopefully going to be successful in school because they can see,” said Gresham.