PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Many students struggle with blurry vision as an obstacle to learning, making reading and focusing difficult. Conexus helps these struggling students by helping them with their vision.

Justin was just one of the students at Vernon Johns Middle School who was helped by Conexus. He told 8News he had been in need of glasses for some time before Conexus stepped in.

“My Auntie told me that a lot,” he said. “Stuff was right there in front of me, and I didn’t see it.”

Justin says he used to try and sit much closer to the front of the classroom in hopes of seeing the board better. Keisha Williams, a 7th-grade English teacher at the school, said she has seen similar behavior from other students with vision problems.

“If you don’t have the glasses, you will have difficulty seeing the board or seeing the whiteboard,” Williams said. “That leads to less participation and engagement in class… You notice the students leaning in. You notice the students squinting.”

According to Williams, she noticed immediate improvements from the students who had received their glasses from Conexus.

“I noticed a 180 with Justin and… other students who benefited from getting the free eyeglasses with this program,” Williams said. “They are more engaged, they are participating more, and also you noticed an uptick in the grades, their grades improved.”

For more information on the program and its mission to improve the lives of students with the “gift of light,” visit the Conexus website.