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Major League Baseball Players Trust and Our Children’s Vision Take Aim at Avoidable Blindness

Published: 04.10.2016

Young boy writing

Major League Baseball Players Trust and Our Children’s Vision Take Aim at Avoidable Blindness

Former Major Leaguers and Indiana Natives LaTroy Hawkins & Kenny Lofton to Host Free Vision Screenings in Gary, IN on World Sight Day

New York, NY, Monday, October 4, 2016 … Baseball and kids are a classic combination, but what happens when those kids struggle to see? When they can’t see clearly enough to catch a fly ball, connect with a pitch, or read the scoreboard? But it isn’t just about their performance on the field, children with uncorrected vision are hindered in the classroom and in every aspect of their lives.

The Major League Baseball Players Trust and Our Children’s Vision are joining forces on World Sight Day to combat the unnecessary effects of childhood vision impairment by providing hundreds of children with free eye care and glasses.

“The consequences of a child not being able to see clearly cannot be underestimated,” explained Professor Kovin Naidoo, Campaign Director for Our Children’s Vision. “These children are often misunderstood as being unintelligent, un-athletic, and introverted. When in reality they are simply unable to see well enough to get involved and enjoy the things kids love to do.”

On World Sight Day – Thursday, October 13, 2016 – the Players Trust and Our Children’s Vision will partner with Illinois Eye Institute Princeton Vision Clinic, The Optical Foundation, Indiana University College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry, Moses Eyecare and Benavente Eyecare, to provide free vision tests to hundreds of elementary school students and youth baseball players from Gary, Indiana.  Those youngsters requiring glasses will receive them free of charge.

Former Major Leaguers LaTroy Hawkins, from Gary, IN, and Kenny Lofton, from East Chicago, IN, will be on hand to assist with the testing and to participate in question and answer sessions with the youth.  

“When we give these kids a pair of glasses it will be such a transforming experience for them – on the field, and in the classroom,” said Lofton. “It is important that kids here in the US, and around the world, are able to participate in sports and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. One of the key elements to that is having clear, healthy vision.”

“It’s an honor for me to return home and represent all Major Leaguers and the Players Trust in joining Our Children’s Vision to provide free screenings for local youth,” stated Hawkins.  “Many of us take for granted simple procedures such as an eye exam, but for these children this effort can be life altering.  I thank everyone involved in this project for selecting Gary as the location for this great event.  We encourage all community leaders to step to the plate to ensure that our children have access to similar vision tests.”

An estimated 1 in 4 children in the US have a vision problem that is significant enough to affect their learning. An eye exam and a pair of glasses can set off a chain reaction that dramatically improves their lives.  And yet millions of children in America do not have access to this simple solution.

The public is encouraged to find an optometrist by consulting with their state optometric association.