Free eye exams for qualified 3rd-grade students

Published 9:20 am Monday, May 20, 2024

No-cost eye exams for third-grade students who did not pass the state reading assessment test and do not have insurance are now being provided through July 31. The exams are provided at no cost for the eighth year by the Mississippi Vision Foundation and the Mississippi Optometric Association.

“We know that vision is a greater predictor of academic success than socioeconomic status. And as citizens of Mississippi, we have a vested interest in making sure all our students have the tools and the opportunity to succeed at their highest abilities,” said Dr. Josh Patrick, MVF President. “We are committed to identifying those students who have vision problems.”

Statistics show that 25 percent of all school age children have vision problems, and more than 80 percent of those students do not get the help they need. Children who struggle to read are more likely to leave school without graduating; ultimately contributing to the poverty rates in our state. In 2022-2023, an average of 15 percent of Mississippi’s third graders did not pass the reading assessment after three attempts.

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The first round of reading assessment tests took place between April 8-19. Parents have been notified if their student did not pass the test. There are two opportunities to retest.

How the eye exam program works:

  • Locate a participating optometrist at or call 601-572-0845.
  • Let the receptionist know you are scheduling a third-grade eye appointment.
  • Bring the letter notifying you that your child did not pass the assessment test with you to the appointment.
  • At the appointment, the doctor will let you know if your child has any vision challenges.
  • All children, regardless of their family’s ability to pay, will be seen by participating ODs.
  • For students covered through private insurance, applicable co-pays may apply due to laws that require the doctor to collect this amount.
  • MVF and its industry partners work with Mississippi ODs to provide glasses to any student whose eye exam reveals the need for corrective lenses.

“As members of the MOA, we are committed to identifying the visual and ocular health needs of students as early as possible. This is a vital component of their academic success,” said Dr. Jacob Ivey, MOA President.