RACINE, Wis., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SC Johnson will be honored later this month with the 2013 Prevent Blindness Wisconsin Community Partner Award for its commitment to supporting healthy vision for children in the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) through Prevent Blindness Wisconsin's Star Pupils Vision Screening Program. The program provided free vision screenings and health education to more than 2,000 four and five-year-old kindergarten children last year.
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent blindness and preserve sight. Through the screenings, staff identified children with vision problems and then directed them to a local pediatrician or eye doctor. In one RUSD school last year, nearly 39 percent of children experienced vision problems, which is considerably higher than the national average of 20 to 25 percent.
"Vision is often something that many of us take for granted, and we are proud to support an organization that preserves the gift of sight for so many children in our local community," said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. "Vision is about more than eye care – it's how we see the world. As a family company, we are committed to helping make sure children receive proper eye care and reach their full potential."
Roughly 101 RUSD children have received follow-up care and glasses to help them see more clearly. In some cases, low-income children without insurance received vouchers for a free eye exam and glasses or received pro bono care from local eye care professionals.
To date, 259 children have failed the vision screenings that Prevent Blindness Wisconsin volunteers and school nurses conducted in various schools. Several of the children who failed the vision screenings are receiving treatment for amblyopia, a medical condition that is the leading cause of preventable blindness among children in the U.S. Since children with amblyopia often do not show any noticeable signs or symptoms, amblyopia can go undiagnosed and lead to permanent vision loss. But if a child with amblyopia is identified through a screening and treated immediately, amblyopia can be corrected and the child will go on to experience healthy vision.
"A simple screening makes all the difference, and healthy vision is vitally important for children's success in school," said Barbara Armstrong, Executive Director of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin. "Since 80 percent of learning happens visually, vision problems can interfere with reading and other skills that are critical to academic success. Screenings can lead to improvements that lay the foundation for school readiness and future career preparation."
After failing her vision screening in the spring of 2013, a pediatric ophthalmologist diagnosed four-year-old Gianna Balke with amblyopia. "Gianna had normal 20/20 vision in her left eye, but my stomach dropped when the doctor told us that the vision in her right eye was 20/200," said Gina Balke, Gianna's mom. "As a parent I immediately thought, how did I not notice this before now?"
Gianna's parents worked with the pediatric ophthalmologist to ensure that she followed a regimen of wearing glasses and a patch each day to restore the vision in her 'lazy' eye. After three months of treatment, Gianna now has 20/30 vision with glasses, which is considered normal vision for a child her age.
"Support from companies such as SC Johnson makes it possible for Prevent Blindness Wisconsin to help children like my daughter," said Mike Balke, Gianna's dad. "Had it not been for that vision screening, my child's vision would have continued to deteriorate, and she likely would have experienced functional blindness in her right eye in the future."
In recognition of SC Johnson's support of the Star Pupils Vision Screening Program, the company will publicly receive the 2013 Community Partner Award at Prevent Blindness Wisconsin's Celebrity Waiters Dinner on Oct. 16 in Milwaukee, Wis. The evening will include a live and silent auction and feature the stories of children whose sight has been saved by Prevent Blindness Wisconsin's Children's Vision Screening Program. To purchase tickets or to find out more about Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, please visit http://wisconsin.preventblindness.org
About Prevent Blindness Wisconsin
For over 50 years, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin has pursued its mission to prevent blindness and preserve sight. The agency provides free vision screenings to preschool children, school age children and adults. It also provides public and professional education in vision health, vision safety and vision loss prevention. Prevent Blindness Wisconsin is the only nonprofit organization in the state providing these services. Since 1958, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin has screened more than 6 million children and over 230,000 adults. Prevent Blindness Wisconsin receives no government funding and relies entirely on the public and business community for support of its sight saving services. For more information on Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and the Star Pupils Program, contact Barbara Armstrong, Executive Director, at 414-765-0505.
About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 127-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.
SOURCE SC Johnson