Delta Dental of Iowa Announces Vision Partnerships
Delta Dental of Iowa is on a mission to improve not only the oral health of Iowans, but also the vision health. The local health and wellness company, which sells DeltaVision insurance, has committed $60,000 to three Iowa non-profit organizations that support children’s vision health - Prevent Blindness Iowa, Vision To Learn and Iowa KidSight.
There are many barriers that prevent families from receiving the vision care they need for their children including financial barriers and logistics in getting their child to their appointment. According to a study by the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health, “more than 20 percent of elementary school students in low-income communities have vision problems, and 96 percent of those students who need glasses do not have them.” Children from low-income communities are less likely than their peers to get needed vision care, even when they have insurance. Based on these numbers, it is estimated that there are approximately 32,000 Iowa students in need of vision exams and glasses.
“As a not-for-profit insurance company, we give back to the communities we serve to fund programs that improve the overall health of underserved Iowans” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “As a vision insurance carrier, we wanted to fund additional programs that align with our overall health and wellness mission.”
With funding from Delta Dental, the three vision organizations will continue their missions:
Prevent Blindness Iowa works directly with participating school nurses and/or the school resource officers to coordinate vision screenings in targeted central Iowa elementary schools. ($25,000 grant)
Vision To Learn (VTL) helps overcome obstacles to vision care by bringing a mobile clinic to low-income schools and providing exams and glasses for free. During the 2017-18 school year, VTL will serve nearly 50 schools in the following Iowa counties: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, Jones, Muscatine and Polk. ($25,000 grant)
Iowa KidSight is a vision-screening project where Lions Club volunteers throughout Iowa organize and conduct vision-screening sessions in local communities. The results are interpreted by trained staff at The University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and returned to families. This voluntary program is open to any child 6-months of age through kindergarten. ($10,000 grant)
Vision screening programs in schools and child care centers are effective ways for early detection of vision problems in children when treatment is more likely to be effective and before learning is impacted. Funding from Delta Dental will support all three organizations to expand reach throughout Iowa and set up Iowa children for successful learning. For more information on Delta Dental’s giving, go to www.deltadentalia.com/foundation.