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More Than 5,000 Students in Lewiston to Receive Free Eye Exams and Eyewear

March 31, 2022

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield partnering with MEA Benefits Trust to provide free vision care to Lewiston Public Schools students
 
LEWISTON, MAINE – With many preventative healthcare visits like eye exams declining during the pandemic, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is partnering with the Maine Education Association (MEA) Benefits Trust to provide free vision screenings, eye exams, and eyewear to more than 5,000 students in Lewiston.
 
These services will be provided by Optical Academy to students in Lewiston Public Schools March 31 through April 8.
 
“Having regular eye exams and addressing vision problems as soon as possible is important to your overall health,” said Dr. Richard Hom, Optometric Director for Anthem. “Preventative care visits dropped during the pandemic, especially in underserved communities, which is why it’s important to us that, through this partnership with MEA Benefits Trust and the Lewiston Public Schools, we are able to provide quality vision care and eyewear to the students in Lewiston who need it most.”

Optical Academy’s mobile team of technicians and optometrists will be on site at a different school in Lewiston each day, providing vision screenings as well as comprehensive eye exams and eyewear for students who do not pass the initial screening. Most students needing eyeglasses will receive their newly prescribed eyewear on-site the same day from Optical Academy’s full-service pop-up optical shop. The Anthem Blue View Vision business unit is covering the cost of the clinic and all services are provided to students free of charge.
 
According to the American Optometric Association, one in five preschoolers have vision problems, and by the time they enter school, 25 percent will need or wear corrective lenses. More than 60 percent of children found to have eye problems through screenings never visit a doctor. This clinic bridges that gap by providing a follow-up comprehensive eye exam and corrective eyewear the same day.
 
“Good vision skills are critical to effective reading, learning, and development,” said Jennifer Kent, Executive Director of the MEA Benefits Trust. “This clinic will help address any unresolved vision health needs for students in Lewiston who may otherwise lack access to vision care, and we’re pleased to work with the Lewiston Public Schools staff and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to make this happen.”
 
“So much of the work done at Lewiston Public Schools is about breaking down barriers that students have to access their education,” said Jake Langlais, Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent. “The idea that students will have the opportunity to see the world with clarity because of the support of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, MEA Benefits Trust, and Optical Academy is moving. I can only imagine how this can change a student’s life. Imagine going from struggling to see to taking in the visual beauty of the world around you.”
 
Anthem is committed to being a lifetime, trusted health partner that meets the whole health needs of those we serve. In addition to health benefits and other health services, Blue View Vision covers routine vision services for approximately 9 million people across the country. 
 
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Media Contact:
Stephanie DuBois
stephanie.dubois@anthem.com
Ph: (603) 541-2112