Child Vision Health

Vision difficulties are one of the most common child health problems in the United States and the most prevalent handicapping condition in childhood.

Problems with children's eyesight can start at an early age and can affect a child’s ability to learn, athletic performance and even self-esteem. Vision problems are often misdiagnosed as behavior problems or learning disabilities. If a child’s eye problems are not treated, these problems can worsen and even lead to blindness. The good news is that vision loss can be avoided if problems are found and treated early.

However, many barriers exist that prevent children from accessing vision care services. PCCY works to improve the visual health of the region’s children by engaging in multiple, interconnected efforts to improve children’s access to vision health care services.


Since the 2006-07 school year persistently about 60% of students (almost 16,000) who fail a school nurse vision screen do not get a follow-up eye exam. School Nurses report that one of the main reasons parents say they do not take their kids for follow-up care is because they do not know where to take them.

PCCY has developed a guide to help parents, school nurses, counselors, health care providers and others who care for children access vision health care resources in Philadelphia. The guide lists over 100 eye doctors within the city that provide services to children.

Find an eye doctor!  Based on your zip code, find an eye care providers in your neighborhood now with names, phone numbers and addresses of eye care providers in your area. Click here to begin.

Vision Health Resource Guide - A Guide to Vision Health Services for Philadelphia's Children and Adolescents – includes a list of eye doctors as well as their locations on a Philadelphia map.


We are excited that Give Kids Sight Day is fast approaching on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Public Citizens for Children and Youth and several other partners present's this day of free eye care for children 0-18 who have not had or passed an eye exam in the last year, and especially for kids with no health insurance. The day includes free eye exams and glasses for children on a first come first served basis.

For more information about Give Kids Sight Day including how to volunteer, visit

children's vision health reports

PCCY undertook an in-depth examination of Philadelphia children’s visual health status identifying factors that facilitate and hinder access to care as well as recommendations for increasing access. Follow the link below to read the report. You can also contact PCCY to request copies.

  • A Problem We Don't See: The Status of Children’s Vision Health in Philadelphia Download PDF

PCCY conducted a survey of parents and providers revealing surprising insights into the misinformation about vision benefits for children.

  • Envisioning Good Vision Care for Philadelphia Children
    Download PDF

How Well Does Your Child See? An Educational Tool for Parents.

PCCY has designed paper glasses with a lens that simulates a vision problem for school nurses and primary care providers to distribute to parents whose child has failed a vision screen in an effort to demonstrate how their child may see the world. The glasses include information about how to find an eye doctor to obtain follow-up care.

PCCY Vision Simulator
These Paper Glasses give you an idea of how blurry the world may be for your child.

Children’s Vision Health Coalition

PCCY has initiated a Children’s Vision Health Coalition comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders concerned about children’s visual health. The Task Force collaborates on a variety of initiatives to reach the goal of connecting children to vision health care services. 

For more information and to get involved please contact Colleen McCauley, Health Director at or call 215-563-5848 x33.