Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program Serves as
a Model for Other States
January, 2012, Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric
To read the full text of this article,
Click here to read a summary of the Heiken Program’s history and
What is the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program?
The Heiken Children’s Vision Fund
was created in 1992 by the Dade
County Optometric Association,
and to date it has provided free
comprehensive eye examinations
and eyeglasses to more than
85,000 financially disadvantaged
had no other source
for vision care.
In 2010, the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program, LLC was
registered with the State of Florida, expanding vision health services
to low-income children residing in selected additional counties
The statewide expansion for the 2012-13 academic years increased
the number of children served to more than 10,000 throughout Florida
who will receive eye care via a statewide panel of optometric
physicians during the current school year. These services are provided
through mobile or in-office eye care.
Roughly 84% of children examined require and receive prescription
eyeglasses, confirming the importance of our project. Furthermore,
74% of parents surveyed indicate their child’s performance had improved
in school because of the glasses.
Why are these services important?
According to research by the American Optometric Association, vision
problems in children and teenagers may contribute to poor school
performance, behavior issues and delinquency. AOA research shows that
1-in-4 of children have vision problems; literacy can be improved with early
intervention. With corrective lenses, children are able to read their
assignments, see the board, and learn to their fullest potential. Their
prospects for succeeding in school and passing the FCAT improve
immeasurably. An upcoming issue of Optometry: Journal of the American
Optometric Association will carry an article featuring the Heiken
Program as a role model for other states.
Other funders for this program are the Florida Optometric Charities, the
National Eye Institute, the American Optometric Association, the
Children’s Trust and many other foundations and donors whose support more
than doubles the number of children the Heiken Program is able to serve.
believe that literacy can be improved with early intervention in children
with vision deficits. Students with poor vision cannot see the board or
do close work and fall behind in class Our objective is to provide
comprehensive eye health services including vision examinations,
eyeglasses and vision training for students, thus meeting the goal for
vision established in National Eye Institute, National Institutes of
Health, Healthy Vision/Healthy People 2010 initiative. In the past three
years, the Heiken Program has received two Healthy Vision/Healthy People
awards from NEI.
Governance oversight of the
program is provided by the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the LLC;
oversight of the program is provided by the Florida Heiken Children's
Vision Program Advisory Committee comprised of optometrists,
ophthalmologists and representatives from foundations and school
The Miami Lighthouse for the
Blind has received five consecutive four-star ratings from Charity
Navigator, placing it among the nation's top 8% most efficient non-profit
organizations and is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for
Agencies Serving People with Blindness or Visual Impairment.
For additional information please call 786-362-7526 or
Miami Lighthouse Wins South Florida Business Journal
Excellence In Health Care - Community Outreach Award
Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business
Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach
category at an award ceremony October 6.
Click here for press release.
School Board Member Raquel Regalado thanks
the Heiken Children's Vision
School Board Member Raquel Regalado thanks Miami Lighthouse for the Blind
and the Heiken Children's Vision Program that enables uninsured,
financially disadvantaged children in Miami-Dade County to receive free
comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses at no cost. Filmed at the
Miami Lighthouse 80th Ruby Jubilee Dinner Concert at the Biltmore Hotel.
Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program
by Miami-Dade County School Board
A proclamation recognizing the Miami Lighthouse Heiken
Children's Vision Program for distinguished services to county
schoolchildren was presented at the April 14th, 2010 meeting of the
Miami-Dade County School Board.
School Board member Dr. Martin Karp, Miami Lighthouse
CEO Virginia Jacko, and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Miami Lighthouse first sought
and received NAC accreditation in 1978 and has consistently
achieved NAC accreditation to the present time having
received seven commendations with its five year
Lighthouse ranks among the elite 4% of U.S. nonprofits
having earned a 4-star rating for five consecutive years
from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent
nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects
our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor
dollars, and financial strength.
Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business
Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the
Community Outreach category.
Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral
Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond
Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from
Health Foundation of South Florida.
Lighthouse received United Homecare’s 2012 Thelma Gibson
Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper
Memorial Awards Ceremony.
Lighthouse's Heiken Children's Vision Program received the
bronze medal for their service to thousands of under-served
children in public schools at the 2012 Miami Today Gold
Medal Awards Ceremony.