Eye problems severely affect the quality of children's life and pose impediments to their learning prospects. Migrant and rural children in China that are beset by eye problems mostly go untreated mainly due to lack of resources and medical insurance coverage, leading to the future deterioration of the children's vision. To respond, our "I Care" project provides free eye tests, eye glasses and eye operations to disadvantaged primary school children.
Rural and migrant children in China have roughly the same levels of myopia and other vision issues as urban children, but their parents rarely buy glasses or fund corrective surgery for lack of funds and medical insurance, and above all lack of understanding of the importance of correcting poor vision. Uncorrected myopia can seriously impact a child's quality of life and poses impediments to their learning prospects.
Since 2008, Stepping Stones started the "I Care" Project, providing eye tests, free treatment, free spectacles and free eye operations to migrant children in China by working with hospitals. The project also raises awareness of eye care issues among parents, children and their local teachers. We have made an educational animation entitled "I Wear Glasses", which has been seen by thousands of beneficiaries so far.
Until now, this project has provided screening services to more than 24,000 migrant children, distributed more than 3,900 spectacles and did 27 eye surgeries. Our long-term goal is to improve the vision of disadvantaged children in China in order to increase their chance of educational success. We are also aiming to change the mindset of their parents, teachers and the public about eye care issues and the importance of wearing glasses.