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Eye Doctor Helps Kids Learn By Giving Free Eye Exams

BOSTON (CBS) - There's a new Boston program giving local school kids the chance to see their way to a better education. The program provides eye exams and glasses to students who need them.  As we found out, that need is great.

The idea is to help school kids learn, by helping them see.  "We want to make sure all the kids have all the advantages they need to succeed in the classroom," says Dr. Tricia Rose, a Boston optometrist who started the program she calls Envision Boston Giving.

Once a week for the last month, Dr. Rose has set up at the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale giving free eye exams and making glasses for students who need them.  "We were really surprised that here at the Irving school four out of five children that we've screened have very much needed glasses," she says.

Student getting an eye exam. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

Dr. Rose is footing the bill for the glasses right now, but donors are starting to step up.  "There have been so many studies done that support the fact that vision and learning are so deeply connected," she says.

Middle schooler Mary Bosh picked up her free glasses today.

Middle School student Mary Bosh gets her glasses. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

"They're so important because I would be like, getting math problems wrong because I couldn't read them off the board," she says.  Same for students Erie Brown and Anthony Fannon.  "It'll help me because I'll be able to see clear in reading," Anthony says.  "I can focus.  I don't have to keep going up to the board asking, can you make the words bigger," adds Erie.

Special guest Mayor Marty Walsh visited the program today.  "If we have the ability to be able to go back and have all our kids eyes checked, and the ability to give them proper glasses, it's a game changer for kids," he says.  "Self esteem, emotional confidence, everything.  It's all going to be enhanced by having new eye wear," says Dr. Rose.

The hope is to expand the free program to more Boston schools over the next 12 months.

Anyone who would like to donate to the project can go to the Network For Good, Envision Boston site.

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