Community Vision Screening

Sight saving from a grassroots to a global level

Community screening for eye diseases through the Vision Screening In Our Neighborhoods (VISION) Program

VISION was founded in 2012 to address a community-defined need for improved access to ophthalmological care in East Baltimore.

Several Johns Hopkins medical students were enthusiastic about establishing a vision screening program within an existing student-led health clinic but became dismayed to discover that ophthalmological services, unlike primary care, were poorly covered by basic health insurance programs like the Primary Adult Care program. Recognizing the inherent shortsightedness in conducting medical screenings without ensuring follow-up, the founders of ViSION enlisted the help of faculty of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.

A group of faculty ophthalmologists agreed to not only train students to conduct community-based vision screenings and supervise the screenings, but they also agreed to provide care for any patients screened by VISION who were found to have vision problems, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Thus, ViSION was founded on the premise that all underserved community residents in whom eye problems were detected would be guaranteed access to appropriate care.


As of 2023, ViSION has conducted 60 community vision screening events and screened more than 1,400 Baltimore residents, in direct partnership with 27 unique Baltimore City community service organizations and NGOs. Our events have been hosted with numerous community partner organizations in Baltimore including McCulloh Homes, Christian Memorial Church, Charm City Clinic, Project PLASE, Centro Sol, and the Beans and Bread Center, to name just a few.

Our vision screening events have been run with the help of more than 150 medical students and more than 30 Wilmer faculty volunteers. Of those who were screened, more than 440 community residents have been referred for free follow-up care at Wilmer Eye Institute.

To date more than 250 local residents with eye problems have received free follow-up care at the Wilmer Eye Institute through the ViSION program, and 70 local residents have received a free pair of eyeglasses at the Wilmer Eye Institute. JHU ViSION is also a member of the Consortium of Student Run Eye Clinics, a national effort to collaborate with student-run free eye clinics and screening programs at medical schools across the country.

The work of the ViSION Screening Program has been recognized through awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, The Reverend Melvin B. Tuggle Community Excellence Award Program, and the JHU Student Outreach Center (SOURCE).

2023-2024 ViSION Board

Read more about the impact of our work.

When Tom Johnson was a medical student, he built a community organisation that provides free vision screenings and guaranteed follow-up medical and surgical care to people with little or no resources. That organisation, the Student Sight Savers Programme, has served  hundreds of people over the past six years. Tom’s contribution was recently recognised when he … Continue readingSight saving from a grassroots to a global level

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