One doctor in Ocean Beach is ensuring the success of low-income students with vision problems by providing them with free optometrist services.
Dr. Eli-Ben-Moshe believes that seeing well is vital for students to succeed in the classroom and that no student who can’t afford vision care should go without at Ocean Beach Elementary School.
His Newport Avenue Optometry practice has been a staple of the community for 50 years and hundreds of Ocean Beach residents have benefited from his care. He is also a father and this is part of the story for his empathy as well as his proximity to the elementary school.
For the past 10 years, the doctor has worked with school staff on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to provide children with the tools to improve their vision.
Blurry vision can often trigger behavior problems in the classroom and at home. Children with trouble seeing can be frustrated, start failing classes, and teachers or counselors may need to intervene. Many parents don’t see or understand the problems are due to their child’s inability to see properly.
Ben-Moshe’s aim is to provide assistance to children who slip through the cracks. They are from families who lack health insurance with vision care or who simply cannot afford it.
There are 445 children enrolled in Ocean Beach Elementary school and its state pre-school. Every year, each child has a vision screening conducted by the part-time school nurse and a health technician. This has been extremely advantageous because those students who would otherwise fall through the cracks are identified if their vision is impaired.
Those children in need are then escorted by a school staff member for their exam from Ben-Moshe and sometimes parents will even attend.
They are given a complete eye exam so that any vision challenges are easily detected. This also includes ensuring their eye health and development are normal. Children are able to choose their own eyeglasses and they are often made right on the premises and they are able to head back to school with their new glasses.
Ben-Moshe has seen firsthand the transformation his help creates in children. After one child put on his glasses and looked around he was amazed at how much better he could see, Ben-Moshe said.
The doctor also said he doesn’t forget their smiles and the personal satisfaction of helping children see properly.
Many parents of those same children come back to the doctor to thank him and report that their children are reading for pleasure when before they would put books down because they were experiencing headaches.
Principal Marco Drapeau of Ocean Beach Elementary has seen the significant benefit that Ben-Moshe’s optometry services provide to the students at his school and he values it.
He said it has made a big impact on a great many students and their families who are disadvantaged or low income. Some simply do not have access to health insurance or financial liquidity to provide vision care. The children would be at a disadvantage much longer if it were not for the help of Ben-Moshe.