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Hundreds of Uninsured Georgia School Children to Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses
Date:1/15/2009

ATLANTA, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) and OneSight, a Luxottica Group Foundation, have partnered to bring the OneSight Vision Van, "SeeMore" to Georgia from January 21 to 23. Henry County Schools pre-selected more than 300 students from kindergarten through high school based on their financial and vision needs to receive free vision care, including full vision exams and new eyewear. Held at the Luxottica Retail Distribution Center (100 Greenwood Industrial Pkwy, McDonough, GA 30253), local doctors, community partners, BCBSGa associates and brokers, as well as employees from LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical will provide care and assistance during clinic hours (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM daily).

According to Prevent Blindness America, one in four school-aged children has visual disabilities that affect their ability to learn. Approximately 80 percent of all learning during a child's first 12 years is obtained through the eyes; yet 86 percent of children do not receive a vision exam during that time.

"This collaborative effort to bring the Vision Van to the greater Atlanta area will help make a meaningful difference in the lives of children who might not otherwise have had their vision needs met," says Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGa. "Our hope is that this service will provide these children with improved self-esteem and a better opportunity to live life to the fullest."

"OneSight provides important opportunities that help children succeed in school and, ultimately, in life," said Jane Walters, OneSight Captain. "We have seen many cases where a pair of glasses has made the difference in helping a child accomplish greater scholastic success or simply see clearly for the first time. Watching a child's face light up as the world comes into focus is something I will never forget."

OneSight (formerly known as Give the Gift of Sight Foundation), a Luxottica Group Foundation, is a family of charitable programs dedicated to improving vision for those in need worldwide through outreach, research and education. OneSight has been serving the McDonough, GA area since 2003 and during the past six years approximately 400 Henry County children have received free eye care and nearly 95 percent of these local children required and received free prescription eyewear.

"An eye exam is one of the best forms of preventative medicine today. Good vision health is connected to overall health and well-being. Supporting the Vision Van helps these children to more clearly experience the world around them," said Stuart Watts, regional vice president of BCBSGa's Specialty Sales, which includes the Vision business.

The BCBSGa Blue View Vision network includes ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. In addition to private practitioners, Blue View Vision's broad national network includes retailers like LensCrafters(R), Target(R) Optical, JCPenney(R) Optical, Sears Optical and Pearle Vision locations. BCBSGa's Blue View Vision product offers access to more than 44,000 providers nationwide and more than 600 providers in Georgia. Under Blue View Vision, kids ages 19 and under get full coverage of Transitions(R) and polycarbonate lenses.

In addition to serving children in communities throughout the country with the Vision Van, OneSight also performs two-week Global Clinics designed to hand-deliver eye exams and recycled, donated eyewear to underprivileged individuals in developing countries. To date, nearly 3 million people have been helped during Global Clinics.

About OneSight

OneSight, a Luxottica Group Foundation and a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, is a family of charitable programs dedicated to improving vision for those in need worldwide through outreach, research and education. OneSight's outreach programs include the hand-delivery of vision care and eyewear to those in need. Since 1988, OneSight outreach efforts have helped more than six million people around the world see more clearly. OneSight also supports research and education, granting more than $6 million towards vision preservation and thousands of dollars in scholarships to students pursuing a degree in Optometry. Luxottica Group (a global leader in eyewear manufacturing, distribution and retail) employees, Luxottica-affiliated and independent doctors, vendors, donors and other charitable partners worldwide, work together to give the gift of sight to those in need. Luxottica Group provides inspiration for OneSight and it is the foundation's main sponsor. For more information visit www.onesight.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association(R) . The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com.


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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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