New Helena nonprofit launching free eye care program for kids

INDEPENDENT RECORD

A newly formed nonprofit organization in Helena announced Tuesday it will soon be providing vision screenings, eye exams and glasses for free to area children in need.

The Little Peeps program by Mountain Health Gives will be funded with a $750,000 gift from attorney and former state Auditor John Morrison from a remainder account of a class-action lawsuit, a news release stated.

Little Peeps was chosen as the nonprofit’s first program, officials with the nonprofit said, in part because of a 2021 Johns Hopkins University study that found that children with uncorrected vision are more likely to have low self-esteem, to fall behind in school, and to have behavioral problems.

And, according to the American Optometric Association, 1 in 4 school-aged children have a vision problem that, if left untreated, will affect their learning and personal development.

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Common vision problems in children include vision loss, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), refractive errors (nearsightedness and farsightedness) and astigmatism.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 51% of kids covered by employer insurance plans have an eye exam and glasses benefit and that more than 52,000 children in

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