Elementary school students in Portage la Prairie are being offered free eye exams this week. Parents and family members of the students can also get in on it.

North Memorial School resource teacher Kim Houle says it's in cooperation with the Mobile Vision Care Clinic and the Portage la Prairie School Division.

"There are three schools that are involved, and it's this week," says Houle. "LVS (La Verendrye School) September 13th, Fort la Reine is September 14th, and North Memorial School is September 15th. The clinics run from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 in the afternoon."

Houle says the division arranged the effort with the Mobile Vision Care Clinic. Students can have their eyeglasses covered through third-party insurance, such as Employment Income assistance, non-insurance health benefits such as status, or a third-party insurance company. 

"There are also funds being donated and raised for families who do not have third-party coverage and who are not in a position to afford the cost of prescription eyeglasses," continues Houle. "What they want is for everyone who needs glasses to be able to have them. The exam itself is covered by Manitoba Health. To get your eyes checked, you need to have a signed permission form brought into your school."

Houle explains it’s important for students to have proper eye care so that they can see in order to read, write, and engage in mathematics. 

"Sometimes we don't realize that there's an issue," adds Houle. "Kids especially don't realize that they aren't seeing everything properly. This is the first mobile vision care clinic screening that we've had in the Portage la Prairie School division. So, we're really excited to partner with this company so that we can provide this opportunity for students and families."

She notes parents of students who attend these schools can have their eyes checked in the afternoon on these days.
"Parents and guardians are invited to attend their child's appointment so that if the student needs glasses, they can help them pick out the glasses that they want," says Houle. "And if your child requires glasses, they will be delivered to the school. The eyeglass delivery and fitting will take place about three weeks after the vision screening has been done at the school. So, it's a really fast turn-around time, which is excellent."

No appointments are necessary, and Houle says it's just that parents will come for their screening in the afternoon.