Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program
Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program Forms (Click Here)
About our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program
The American Optometric Association reports that that 1-in-4 children has vision problems which may contribute to poor school performance, behavior issues and delinquency. Their research shows that literacy can be improved with early intervention. To read the full text of this article, click here. With corrective lenses, children are able to read their assignments, see the board, and learn to their fullest potential. Their prospects for succeeding in school improve immeasurably.
The mission of the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program is to make sure that all financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who fail their vision screening have access to a comprehensive eye examination including dilation and glasses, if required, to give them the best chance at academic success. These free services are offered statewide, either on-site at schools via five mobile eye clinics or by our network of over 1,100 participating optometrists.
Of 10,571 low-income schoolchildren receiving a comprehensive eye exam during the 2017-2018 school year, 631 were referred for medical intervention for retinal tears, glaucoma and other eye abnormalities. Approximately 84% of all children examined require and receive prescription eyeglasses, confirming the importance of a follow-up eye exam after a student fails the state-mandated vision screening.
The Heiken program undertakes its critically important work with funding from the Florida Department of Health, and additional funding from the Florida Optometry Eye Health Fund, The Children's Trust, the Miami Foundation, other private foundations and individual donors.
History of our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program
The Heiken Children's Vision Fund was created in 1992 by the Dade County Optometric Association, and merged with the Miami Lighthouse in 2007. In 2010, the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program, LLC, a division of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc., was registered with the State of Florida, expanding vision health services to low-income children statewide.
Governance oversight of the program is provided by the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the LLC; oversight of the program is provided by the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Advisory Committee comprised of optometrists, ophthalmologists and representatives from foundations and school districts. Click here to view the roster of Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Advisory Committee members.
The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program is partially funded by The Children's Trust. The Children's Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.