Early Youth Eyecare (E.Y.E.) Community Initiative

Helping children see the possibilities

The problem: Nearly 80 percent of early childhood learning takes place through vision. Imagine being unable to see the board or read the book in front of you at school.

Approximately 25 percent of children have vision problems significant enough to affect their performance - not only in the classroom, but also in their daily life. Children are not always aware they have a vision problem and consequently don't alert an adult who can get them help.

Vision screening is an efficient and economical method for detecting unknown vision problems. Unfortunately, vision screening is not standard at many schools. Routine screenings have been crowded out by competing demands on school budgets and nursing priorities. As a result, many vision issues in school-aged children go undetected.

image_CherylAtkin_thumbnailA solution: The Early Youth Eye care (E.Y.E.) Community Initiative of Phillip Eye Institute - a campus of Abbott Northwestern Hospital strives to remove vision problems as a major roadblock to learning by providing regular vision screenings and subsequent treatment services to Minneapolis and St. Paul school children in kindergarten, first, third, fifth and sixth grades. The program was launched in Minneapolis Public Schools in 2008 and is expanding to St. Paul Public Schools in 2014, thanks to generous donors and the Investing in Sight, Changing Lives campaign.

In addition to providing screening services, E.Y.E. works with families to identify and remove barriers to receiving treatment - offering interpreter services, transportation, and financial support for vision care, serving more than 27,000 students annually.

The response has been overwhelming - from school administrators, nurses, teachers, students and families and the community. Our nationally recognized program has received the Minnesota Hospital Association Community Benefit Award for Small Hospitals and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce Quality of Life Award.

How you can help


Volunteers are needed to help with vision screening in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. Volunteers must be 16 years old and older. All training is provided and volunteer options are flexible. Volunteer teams are also welcome. If you are interested,please complete our volunteer application form.

For more information, call 612-775-8964 or email eye@allina.com.


Donations help the E.Y.E. Community Initiative provide vision screenings and follow-up care when needed.

  • Give now.
  • Attend the Urban Cocktail Party in November, an annual celebration that honors volunteers and donors.


A special thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Richard and Jaci Lindstrom who have provided support through their E.Y.E. Spy Fund, which ensures children who need it receive necessary follow up care.