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Crafting a vision
Program focused on sight
Karen Islas, a sixth-grader at Little Mill Middle School, takes a closer look during an exam Tuesday at Lens Crafters at the Avenue Forsyth. - photo by Jennifer Sami
LensCrafters’ vision is to help people with theirs.

Through the OneSight organization, the company offers free eye exams and glasses throughout the year.

But Tuesday, stores across the nation joined together for OneSight’s OneDay event, giving the gift of sight to people in need, including several Forsyth County students.

The Avenue Forsyth LensCrafters location participated in its first OneDay event since opening 18 months ago. General manager Samantha Lynch couldn’t have been happier.

“To be able to see them with a smile on their face when they put their new glasses on was very gratifying,” she said of the students. “In all the jobs I’ve held in my career, this is the first job I’ve ever had that makes me realize I’m really helping somebody improve the quality of their life.”

County elementary school students selected for the program traveled to the North Point Mall LensCrafters location for their glasses, while about 15 middle and high school students received a new pair of glasses from the Avenue site.

There, they took a tour of the facility and watched technicians turn a piece of glass into a pair of eyeglasses. While waiting for their eye exams, the students munched on tasty coffee treats from Mocha My Day and sang karaoke.

Regional OneSight coordinator Jon Beaton said the events always have some form of entertainment, including magicians for younger students.

“Eyeglasses aren’t the most fun thing in the world,” he said. “So if they have fun with other things, they’re not focusing on the fact that they need glasses. We try to make it fun.”

OneSight has been around since 1988 and organizes a variety of programs, including traveling to other countries to donate eye exams and glasses. There is also the Vision Van, which does the same across the country.

Beaton said frames given out by individual stores are donated through frame companies, and while they are new, they may not be the most current style.

In Forsyth, students were chosen for the program based on their need for corrective eyewear and other factors.

“They ranged, in layman’s terms, from slight correction to very surprised they were able to see the hand that was in front of their face,” Lynch said. “There were a few that had pretty strong prescriptions that most people would not go without a correction.”

One student in particular struck Lynch. After trying on her glasses, she “wouldn’t take them off, because she could see so well.”

Stigmatisms, lazy eye and overall poor vision problems were detected Tuesday, and those needing follow-up appointments can come back at no charge.

Lynch said by the end of the week, another five students will receive a free pair of glasses.

Typically, stores will work with school nurses and parents to help a few students each week.

“It’s one of the most valued senses that we have,” Lynch said. “To know you had a hand in helping somebody to keep that, or to see better, especially with children ... is very satisfying.

“Some of these kids may not be doing well in school, not because they’re not bright enough, but because they can’t see well. That will probably change.”