Needs We Address

People who live with visual impairments and blindness face unacceptable disparities with respect to personal independence and well-being. 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; and a 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 more than 26,000 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, 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 8,900 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 10% of preschool 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.
  • Meanwhile, 14% of pre-kindergarten children screened by Sights for Hope in 2022-2023 were found to have an undetected visual impairment and impairments were detected in 15% of pre-kindergartners during the prior year.
  • The United States Census Bureau reports that there are 63,820 children ages 0-6 in our service area as of July 2021. Multiplying that number by 14% determines that 8,934 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.

Our Organizational Theory of Change

  • If Sights for Hope removes key barriers to self-sufficiency, then people with visual impairments and blindness become empowered to achieve a greater equality of independence and quality of life for themselves.
  • Click here for our full Theory of Change (.pdf)