YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania leaders on Monday celebrated a partnership with nonprofit Vision To Learn that will help students in low-income communities access free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Education (PDE), leaders visited Hannah Penn K-8 school to participate in a ceremony for students receiving free eyeglasses through the partnership between the DHS and Vision To Learn.

“Providing children with the glasses they need to feel comfortable moving through life every day is vital to their success in the classroom and beyond,” said DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “Today marks a new day for many students who can now see the board or clearly read a book for the first time.”

DHS and PDE say that 80% of all learning during a child’s first 12 years is visual, so access to vision services is essential.

The event at Hannah Penn K-8 kicked off the partnership, which uses federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding and private donations to provide vision screenings for students at schools in lower-income communities covered by Vision To Learn, the departments explained.

The partnership between DHS and Vision To Learn aims to reduce barriers to health care and education success by providing free initial vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses as needed. Vision To Learn operates mobile vision screening clinics, providing screenings and exams to children at school, DHS and PDE said.

The departments noted that Vision To Learn was created by Austin Beutner in 2012 and has since provided about 2 million students with vision screenings, more than 400,000 students with eye exams, and 325,000 students with glasses in 14 states and Washington, D.C.

“This effort in Pennsylvania which taps unused federal dollars to help kids is a model for the nation,” Beutner said. “Every child, in every school, everywhere in the country should have the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life.”