Needs We Address

People with visual impairments face unacceptable disparities with respect to personal independence and wellbeing. These inequalities are manifest particularly by increased challenges in accomplishing daily life activities; limited access to medical care, nutritious food, and other critical services; difficulties with emotional health, including depression; and decreased potential to learn successfully in school.

Our Impact Population

Sights for Hope’s impact population in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley – defined as Lehigh and Northampton counties – and Monroe County is comprised of two groups and totals approximately 31,000 people.

The first group consists of people ages 7 and up who have significant difficulty seeing while using glasses or equivalent solutions. This group benefits from our client and patient services – including our life skills education; technology solutions; support services; youth and family programs, including our Camp I CAN! summer program; and the Posch Braille Library. This group includes more than 17,100 people.

The second group consists children ages 0-6, essentially the population of pre-kindergarten children, who have undetected visual impairments that keep them from learning to their fullest potentials. This group benefits from our prevention services – including our free vision screenings and community education programs. This group includes more than 13,500 pre-kindergarten children.

Needs Addressed by Our Client and Patient Services

Needs Addressed by Our Prevention Services

  • Approximately 80% of what a typical child learns comes through their visual system, according to researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
  • Approximately 25% of pre-kindergarten children have a visual impairment significant enough to impact their learning, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). However, 85% of pre-kindergarten children do not receive a professional vision exam, according to the AOA.
  • The United States Census Bureau reports that there are 63,820 children ages 0-6 in our service area as of July 2021. That number multiplied by 25% and then multiplied by 85% determines that 13,562 of these children have a visual impairment that keeps them from learning most effectively.
  • An international study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has noted a sharp increase in nearsightedness in children ages 6-8 during the COVID-19 pandemic and its authors are concerned about the effects of prolonged exposure to digital screens.
  • Our community education programs promote eye health, eye safety, and inclusion of people with visual impairments throughout our communities.