MIDVALE, Utah — Some doctors are warning that many children are emerging from the pandemic with vision problems.
A likely culprit is believed to be increased screen time due to a year of virtual learning and spending more time looking at phones and other devices while being at home so much.
The other problem is tough economic times have some parents struggling just to provide the basics like food and shelter, and they can’t afford a trip to the eye doctor or glasses for their children.
That’s where Utah optician Joseph Carbone and his nonprofit eye clinic, Eyecare 4 Kids, based in Midvale comes in.
The Brooklyn-born Carbone moved to Utah more than 40 years ago.
He married a Bountiful woman and began a successful career as an optician.
But 20 years ago, he and his wife Jan decided they also wanted to give back to the community.
So they opened an optometry clinic specializing in and catering to children whose families might not have the means or the money to go to an eye doctor.
“We provide professional vision screenings, eye exams and eyeglasses to the underserved population,” said Joseph Carbone, founder of Eyecare4 Kids. “Kids whose families, they can’t afford groceries, they’re trying to decide groceries or rent? What do we do? And these kids are falling between the cracks so vision care is probably the last thing they think about so we provide those services to those kids.”
Carbone also has a mobile clinic but it had to be sidelined for a year due to Covid.
Earlier this month though, he hit the road and helped 40 children in Vernal get new glasses.
Now 20 years old, Carbone says Eyecare4Kids has helped 400,000 children get glasses since 2001 through nine clinics in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Jersey.
Carbone was also recently profiled in the Costco member magazine which reaches more than 30 million households worldwide, and he says the response has been overwhelming.
Carbone is also in the middle of expanding his Midvale clinic.
Their goal is to utilize a virtual, vision clinic and be able to ship glasses to any child in need, anywhere in the world.
They hope to help one million additional children get glasses by the end of 2025.
You can make an appointment at the Eyecare4Kids.org or by calling the clinic directly.