There's nothing like seeing the look on a child's face when they see clearly for the first time, Ben Brown said.
"We see kids come in all the time, they'll be 5, 6, 7, and it's the first time they're seeing clearly," he said. "Their mom is like 'I'm sorry, I knew you had headaches but I had no idea you needed glasses.'"
Brown is a licensed optician with Johansen Precision Eye Care, and he said the practice is offering free eye screenings for children from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Greenwood County Library.
"It's so important, and a lot of parents don't even know their kids need glasses," Brown said. "We love seeing the kids, and it's just so important with school going on."
Brown said one in four children needs corrective glasses, but often children are unable to express that their vision is the problem since so often children with vision problems don't know what clear vision looks like.
The standard vision chart isn't enough to assess eye health, Brown said, so Dr. Sam Johansen uses a retinoscope to better check on the health of a patient's retinas. At Saturday's screenings, Brown said if a child shows signs that they need a more in-depth eye exam, parents can schedule an appointment right there. The office accepts Medicaid.
The screenings are hosted in partnership with the library. Jody Gable, children's services coordinator for the Greenwood County Library System, said the event was the brainchild of Brown's wife, Nicole. Their two children have spent plenty of time in the library coming to events throughout the summer, Gable said, and Nicole brought up the idea of hosting screenings for children headed back to school.
"We're always looking for good programming here and programming that helps our community," she said.
She said making sure children's vision is a critical tool for many students, and that undiagnosed vision problems can pose real challenges to them in school.