Return to Headlines

Boston Public Schools Announces Partnership with 2020 On-Site Optometry to Provide Eye Exams and Eyewear to Students

BOSTON -- August 15, 2016 -- In recognition of National Eye Exam Month, Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang joined 2020 On-Site Optometry Founder and CEO Howard Bornstein in announcing a new partnership to provide BPS students with vision care, which includes vision screening and free pairs of glasses.


In Recognition of National Eye Exam Month 

"Vision care supports a child's ability to effectively learn inside and outside of the classroom," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "This partnership will transform learning experiences for so many of our students. Thank you to Howard Bornstein and all of those at 2020 On-Site Optometry for making this possible."

2020 On-Site Optometry, the leading provider of on-site vision care for companies, works in close collaboration with the BPS Health Services Department, which actively aims to promote healthy living for all students.

"We're thrilled to officially launch this partnership with Boston Public Schools," said Bornstein. "I am deeply passionate about finding solutions to challenges that students face, and not being able to see your teacher's writing in the front of the class can be an obstacle on the way to graduation. We look forward to continuing this work."

As part of a pilot program this past year, 2020 On-Site Optometry's mobile eye-exam clinic visited nine BPS sites 23 times. Over 500 students received comprehensive eye exams, and over 280 pairs of glasses were put in the hands of those students. 2020 fully funded 150 of the glasses as well as a majority of the eye exams. It was because of the success of this pilot that BPS decided to expand the partnership to 30 schools this year.

"Vision care can be extremely expensive, and this service will make a world of difference in the lives of our students and their families," said School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill. "The Committee continues to be appreciative of the outstanding partners of BPS."

By law, public school students must undergo vision screening in school, but some families don't follow up with eye exams or can't afford glasses. Further, according to the Colorado Optometric Association, screenings miss between 70-80% of vision problems. Screenings alone are not enough, so 2020 On-site is helping ensure that the proper follow-up care and eyewear are a reality for more students.

"Our students' health is essential to their success, and vision care is critical to their learning experiences," said Superintendent Chang. "I extend my gratitude to 2020 On-Site Optometry for their collaboration as we continue to focus on ensuring that each and every student is well equipped to excel and thrive."

In the first 6 "pilot" visits to Boston Public Schools, over 6% of students seen needed referrals to specialists for further treatment. We also found that almost 15% of those students had a prescription above a -3 or +3 ,and 60% had above a -.25 and below a -3, or a slight farsighted prescription.

Informational packets are provided to parents of BPS students to grant permission for their child(ren) to receive a comprehensive eye exam. Forms can be found here: . Once a school can provide at least 25 signed parental forms, 2020 On-Site Optometry schedules a date and time to visit the school site, to ensure they can see as many students as possible.

"A prescription worse than a -3.00 shuts a child out from the world; they become introverts," said Dr. Douglas Haigh OD, an optometrist who leads the exams on the 2020 mobile vision centers. "These children cannot see past their hands when they are extended. Imagine not being able to see clearly the face of the person in the desk in front of you, let alone the chalkboard or smartboard. These children will not be able to effectively participate in the classroom or play sports and games."

When a student's condition is found to be more severe, more serious, the 2020 On-Site optometrist makes a referral to a specialist and informs the school nurses of a specialized plan for the student.

Dr. Douglas Haigh OD continued, "Social skills will suffer as will academic performance. More importantly, children are unaware. I tell patients this whenever I know they have young children. Kids simply don't know what they are missing out on. Pediatrician visits and school screenings with nurses miss a majority of vision problems. There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation with the general public and it is hurting these students on a large scale."

In 2016, 2020 On-Site Optometry will launch a new t-shirt campaign. Every t-shirt purchased is a free pair of glasses for a BPS student. 2020 On-site is in the process of visiting every BPS high school, which they hope to achieve over the next year.

This partnership is an effort to increase student performance gains, which is part of the district's strategic implementation plan .



The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life. 
Thumbnail photo from homepage credit: 'Vision of Eyechart With Glasses' by Ken Teegardin licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0