Schiff Introduces See the Board Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) introduced the See the Board Act, a bill to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants available for entities that provide vision services for students in underserved communities to purchase portable or mobile optometry equipment and to pay for operational costs, including direct health care or service delivery costs.

“Thousands of kids across the nation need glasses, but because they have never received an eye exam, they struggle through school and life, for lack of a pair of glasses that would often be free for them and their families,” said Rep. Schiff. “Grants to allow these organizations to expand their work to reach more underserved urban and rural schools would be a cost-effective intervention, helping potentially millions of students whose performance and self-confidence suffers for lack of a pair of affordable glasses.”

"Over 2 million students nationwide go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, or do their math homework,” said Ann Hollister, President of Vision To Learn. “This legislation will support programs, like Vision To Learn, that provide eye exams and glasses to students who otherwise would not access critical vision care."

Children with poor eyesight are more likely to perform poorly in school, leading them to be misdiagnosed with behavioral disorders or special education needs. While vision services for low-income families, including a free pair of glasses for children, are covered under Medicaid, many eligible students do not access these services. The See the Board Act would support the work of organizations that are bringing vision services to schools in underserved communities. These programs would still rely on the generosity and volunteerism of eyecare professionals, but nonprofits would have help with some of the substantial equipment and infrastructure costs.

This legislation was co-sponsored by Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Colleen Hanabusa, (HI-01), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Norma J. Torres (CA-35), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).