Chicago Public Schools (CPS) selects Classic Optical for its on-site Eyeglass Delivery Vision Program

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Earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Vision Program chose Classic Optical to improve its on-site eyeglass delivery system to correct students' vision problems and equip them for success in school and in life. On June 4th this innovative vision care model for CPS students reached a milestone as the program dispensed its 50,000th pair of eyeglasses.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated, “By giving children clearer vision in school, we are giving them a clearer vision of their own future".

Classic Optical Laboratories, Inc. (Classic Optical) is helping to change lives and improve learning for Chicago Public School (CPS) children through an innovative partnership with the Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) and Modern Optical International (Modern Optical), delivering the most precious gift -- vision. Recognizing that vision deficiencies are a barrier to learning, in 2014, the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW) issued an RFI to search for an Optical Lab Partner that could provide quality eyeglasses to all CPS students in need. Furthermore, they sought a Lab that could establish an efficient delivery system, as well as ensure rapid turnaround on the prescribed eyewear. Classic Optical, one of the nation’s preeminent ophthalmic fabrication laboratories, met all the specified criteria and was selected for this role.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 80 percent of all learning during a child’s first 12 years takes place through the vision system. In addition, health industry statistics indicate that nearly one out of every four school-age children has vision deficiencies and many are misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities when, in fact, they simply have an undetected vision problem.

“Research clearly substantiates the importance of vision correction in school-age children, and we are extremely proud to be a part of this innovative partnership with the Chicago Public Schools and our strategic partners – the Essilor Vision Foundation and Modern Optical,” said Dawn Friedkin, President of Classic Optical. “Working together this partnership, with its singular focus on the mission of correcting student sight, is also helping improve the lives of many children in the Chicago community.”

Eyecare providers are on site, either in the CPS clinic or rotating to each of the individual schools, to perform eye examinations and if needed, order new prescription eyeglasses for students. Classic Optical equipped the providers with an extensive collection of fashion forward frames furnished by Modern Optical, and once the student has selected a frame the order is transmitted electronically to Classic Optical to manufacture the custom eyeglasses. The finished eyewear is available for return to the prescribing provider in about a week for dispensing and fitting to ensure optimal visual acuity and comfort for the student.

CPS has 400,000 students citywide and during the 2014 school year 174,000 received a vision screening, which led to over 40,000 eye examinations and 26,000 eyeglasses provided. This year CPS is on pace to provide 45,000 eye exams and dispense 27,800 pairs of eyeglasses to students as a result of this innovative program. Many of these children see clearly for the first time, and as a result now have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“At Chicago Public Schools, we know that students need to see the board and their schoolwork to remain engaged in their studies. We are grateful for Classic Optical and our other partners for significantly reducing the time those students must wait between the time of exam and receiving their eyeglasses at no cost,” said Katheryn Stafford-Hudson, MPA, OSHW Specialist for Chicago Public Schools. “This partnership underscores the City’s commitment to removing health-related barriers to learning and allows our students to move closer to the goal of achieving success in college, career and in life.”

Ms. Friedkin stated, “in order to manage all front-end administrative requirements for CPS, Classic Optical established a fully integrated eyeglass order entry system. Our innovative technology solution allows a seamless coordination of benefits among the state Medicaid agency, multiple participating Managed Care payers, and the EVF for the uninsured.” She went on to report, “Classic Optical’s systems also provide a robust back-end management reporting package in order to capture and monitor critical utilization information on all aspects of the program, which has also proven extremely effective in mitigating potential issues of fraud and abuse.”

“The vision program in Chicago Public Schools has seen success thanks in large part to the partnerships the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has built with Classic Optical, Modern Optical and Essilor Vision Foundation,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, MD. “This is a perfect example of how government, private and non-for-profit organizations can work together to provide our students with the tools they need to succeed and live healthy lives today and in the future.”

Teachers and parents want to see their children do well in school and most parents do all they can to provide them with the best educational opportunities, but in the past, too often one important learning tool had been overlooked - a child’s vision. By making vision care optimally accessible through the removal of all geographic (transportation related obstacles), as well as eliminating any financial considerations and other barriers, the needs of all students, be they Medicaid insured, privately insured or uninsured, are now being met. “Whether it is seeing the blackboard or the computer screen, most of a child’s learning is visual. It forms the foundation for their success in school and in life,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By giving children clearer vision in school, we are giving them a clearer vision of their own future.”

About Classic Optical
Classic Optical Laboratories, Inc. is an award-winning lab that has successfully supplied the optical industry with top-quality, low-cost eyewear for nearly 50 years. This centralized, world-class lab produces thousands of custom eyeglasses every day and delivers them to Eyecare Providers (ECPs) across the country. In addition to serving independent provider offices from Maine to California, Classic offers expertise in developing custom solutions to manage high-volume eyeglass programs for insurance organizations, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), union organizations and trust funds, educational institutions, traditional retail chains, click-n-mortar companies, and numerous federal and state government programs.

About Essilor Vision Foundation
Essilor Vision Foundation is a public non-profit charity established by Dallas-based Essilor of America, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States. We are a 501 (c) (3) public charity organized with a mission to "eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences."

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Bob Elsas
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