Company Profiles Franchise Philanthropy Franchising in Your Community May/June 2020

Giving Back: A Vision for Success

Pearle Vision and OneSight set their sights on providing eye care to those in need throughout North America

When Dr. Stanley Pearle founded Pearle Vision back in 1961, his mandate was “Take care of the people.” Today, his legacy lives on at Pearle Vision, with its now-iconic slogan, “Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle.”

Pearle Vision’s passion for providing quality eye care can be seen in its partnership with OneSight, an independent non-profit dedicated to creating a world where lack of access to vision care is no longer a barrier to human achievement and potential.

OneSight was started by LensCrafters employees more than 30 years ago, and when Luxottica acquired Pearle Vision, Pearle Vision’s foundation joined forces with OneSight to increase their ability to do good together.

Alex Wilkes, General Manager of Pearle Vision, says this partnership is founded on a shared understanding of how critical access to high-quality eye care is in helping children unlock their potential.

“According to the American Optometric Association, one in four school-age children in the U.S. has an undiagnosed vision problem. Because approximately 80 per cent of learning is visual for children, it can become a challenge for children with vision problems to achieve their full potential in school and in life. We know that getting a pair of glasses can be life-changing for a child with a vision problem,” he explains.

That’s why, last fall, Pearle Vision and OneSight teamed up to launch the ABSee (pronounced “A-B-C”) program to provide quality eye care to school-age children in need. Over the next year, ABSee will provide free access to eye care and eyewear to children in neighbourhoods across North America where Pearle Vision EyeCare Centers are located.

At these clinics, volunteers will conduct vision tests and optometrists will perform eye exams on board OneSight’s state-of-the-art mobile vision unit. Students who need glasses will get to choose their frames, and many go home with their new glasses on the same day.

“Every day, we see patients in our EyeCare Centers who have vision care needs, and we are there to help them see more clearly. But if we truly are the brand that cares for eyes more than anyone else, we also have an obligation to improve the lives of the community outside of our doors, and especially for the most vulnerable members of the community,” notes Wilkes.

Wilkes says the ABSee program is already making a difference in the lives of youngsters. “When a Pearle Vision doctor performed the first comprehensive eye exam for an eight-year-old boy at one of our clinics, he found that he had a minus-eight prescription. That means, without glasses, he probably could not see something clearly if it were more than six inches away from him. This child is among the hundreds of students whose lives were changed through the first four ABSee vision care clinics.”

Ultimately, an initiative like ABSee is only as strong as those who are championing it, and Pearle Vision franchisees have certainly stepped up to make this program a success. “Our franchisees have been very excited to support this initiative and are getting involved by volunteering at ABSee clinics in their area and soliciting support at the point of sale. Our franchisees are committed to not only caring for the patients that walk through the doors of our EyeCare Centers, but also those people in our communities who need help,” says Wilkes.

While franchisees are keen to support the ABSee program, Wilkes says they also participate in other charitable efforts in their communities. “Over the years, our licensed owners have developed relationships with non-profits and charities in their communities, making donations, sponsoring events, and participating in health fairs. We are supportive of those efforts and fully expect that our licensed owners will continue to nurture those local relationships even as they support ABSee.”

Wilkes says Pearle Vision and OneSight hope to expand the scope of the ABSee program beyond the original plan, to reach more North American communities.

“We started with an initial list of 10 sites for ABSee clinics over the first six months, and we are working with OneSight to bring ABSee clinics, as well as other programming, to many more communities across North America.”

The mobile ABSee clinic is scheduled to come to Toronto, Ontario this May.

By Lauren Huneault 

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