Seeing the Benefits of Vision Care for Children

Developing a public service advertising campaign to encourage vision care for children in New York City

The National Society to Prevent Blindness, Prevent Blindness America® New York Division (Prevent Blindness New York) conducted a public service advertising campaign starting in 2001 to encourage vision care for school-age children in New York City.

In January and February 2001, Prevent Blindness New York, through the New York City Children's Vision Coalition, sponsored a citywide public elementary school art contest, coupled with a companion curriculum on "The Importance of Vision."

The winning artwork became the centerpiece of the advertising campaign, which was kicked off on August 14, 2001, with press releases in English and Spanish and a press conference held by New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi and officers of the NYC Children's Vision Coalition.

Funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) paid for the printing of public service announcement posters and their placement in 1,000 buses and 1,000 subway trains.

The posters read: "It's a fact: 1 child out of every 4 has a vision problem that affects their ability to read and learn" and provided a phone number for people to call about diagnosing and correcting pediatric eye problems.

Key Results:

  • The posters were displayed from August 15 through October 15, 2001. This exposed millions of transit riders (New York City residents, commuters and tourists) to the message about the need for children's eye care.
  • More than 885 people responded to the posters by calling Prevent Blindness New York. They requested eye care brochures, home eye tests or other information about eye care for family members of all ages.
  • The total effect of the daily exposure to the message may be much larger; Prevent Blindness New York continues to receive calls from bus riders who have seen the posters, indicating that some of the posters continue to be displayed.