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Cox Landing and Guyandotte students getting free glasses

Sep. 25, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Some kids sit in the front of the class because they are eager to learn. Others sit in the front because it's the only way they can see what's written on the board.

In a few weeks, more than five dozen students from Cox Landing and Guyandotte elementary schools can sit wherever they like thanks to Alcon, which is providing free pairs of glasses to students in need.

Alcon, an international eye-care provider that has two facilities in northern Cabell County, brought its Kids Vision for Life program to those schools last week. That meant about 75 employees volunteered to provide free vision screenings and prescription glasses to qualified children.

"This could be huge for those who are struggling and don't know (poor vision) is the cause," said Kristin Giles, the principal at Cox Landing. "They can catch an eye problem that wasn't caught before and help the kids academically."

Qualified students will receive one pair of free glasses, and, if a student has a strong prescription, he or she may receive two pairs of glasses. Replacement glasses will be made available if needed. In October, Dr. Christopher Stansbury, an optometrist from Charleston, will visit the schools to conduct free vision exams for those students who failed the screenings. After their exams, the students will be provided glasses at no cost to them.

Martha Evans, the principal at Guyandotte, said 63 of the school's 253 students will have the follow-up exams and are in line to receive glasses. She said the students were taken through several stations and then picked out frames they liked.

What makes Alcon's program especially touching for Evans was that the day before the volunteers visited, a parent came in and asked her if she had any available resources to help in getting her child glasses.

"I had a parent come into my office whose husband works, but because of their income they really couldn't afford glasses," Evans said. "Now that student will get glasses. This is life-changing service by Alcon."