MBKU‘s mission is to provide free vision care and glasses to underprivileged local grade-schoolers. This initiative is driven through MBKU’s Children’s Vision Program, which includes the newly refurbished MBKU eye care van fondly dubbed Eye Force One. Through community-outreach events, Eye Force One travels to Orange County schools in the Santa Ana and Fullerton school districts to perform eye exams to low-income students. When the mobile set-up can not accommodate the multitude of children, bus service is provided to transport them to the MBKU campus for more comprehensive testing.

Roughly half of Orange County students qualify for subsidized lunches and therefore likely cannot afford vision care. Last year, the university screened 15,000 Orange County students, including 5,261 children from Fullerton. MBKU is committed to filling that gap and removing barriers to vision care, ensuring that children do not have trouble learning because of vision problems.

“It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the learning a child does in school occurs through their eyes, yet on average it can take a child as long as 18 months to receive an eye examination. Through MBKU’s children’s vision programs, our goal is to decrease the visual obstacles that interfere with a child’s ability to function and learn in the classroom by providing the access to much needed comprehensive vision care. As we learn more about the increasing need for our children’s vision programs in the Orange County community, each gala becomes more significant, with each dollar raised and partnerships like the one we’ve established with Essilor as equally important to make these programs successful.” – Dr. Kevin Alexander Kevin L. Alexander, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., President of MBKU


Dr. Lynn Lowell, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D., is an assistant professor and is the Community Vision Care Coordinator who leads the team in MBKU’s Children’s Vision Program. She also visits schools to discuss with teachers the impact of vision in the academic success of their students. She explains how children with undetected vision problems can exhibit symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Disorder and are oftentimes misdiagnosed.

Such as those afflicted with ADD, children with vision-based learning problems are highly distractible. They are plagued by short attention spans; make careless errors; and are not able to complete assignments.  These children are often looking around the room; excusing themselves to the restroom; or chatting with their neighbors.  They’re taking what are called “vision breaks,” although they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

Children with eye teaming disorders, called convergence insufficiency and convergence excess, often seem to have ADD. They have trouble using their two eyes in tandem at the close-up distances required for reading. They have difficulty controlling their eye movements, and the print on the page begins to jump and move as they struggle to focus.  This results in a great deal of eyestrain as they fight to coordinate their eyes, resulting in poor comprehension.

Children who are suspected of having ADD are given the opportunity by MBKU to receive further testing; corrective lenses ; and vision exercise and therapy.


Continuing the theme “Sharing Vision—Changing Lives,” the program focus of Marshall B. Ketchum University’s Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards this year is to seek to have all children in Orange County vision ready for school.The Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards is the signature fundraising event for MBKU of Fullerton, CA, home of the Southern California College of Optometry and the new School of Physician Assistant Studies, with the first class beginning in 2014. For the fourth year, Frances M. Hunter-Knott of Fullerton will serve as Honorary Chair, and PBS SoCal producer, reporter and host Maria Hall-Brown will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. A silent auction will be held with proceeds from the Gala supporting vision readiness for all children in Orange County. The Shared Visions Gala and V–Awards program includes selections from the Shared Visions Art Exhibit, showcasing works by blind or visually impaired artists, with some of the artists in attendance at the event.

About MBKU

Marshall B. Ketchum University is now home to the Southern California College of Optometry and the School of Physician Assistant Studies.  Named after the founder of the optometric institution in 1904, the change to a university structure addresses the growing demand for highly skilled health care professionals.  MBKU will provide a diversity of health care education opportunities in an environment fully focused on medical professionalism; combining advanced clinical training with innovative teaching methods.  The University confers a four-year, professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and a Master of Science in Vision Science (M.S.) degree.  MBKU’s School of Physician Assistant Studies expects to award a Master of Medical Sciences (MMS) degree.  MBKU has recently announced plans to establish a College of Pharmacy.

The University’s superior 110-year-old optometric clinical education program provides patient care experiences in community optometric clinics; exposure to the delivery of optometric care in multi-disciplinary settings; and experiences in practices serving a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic patient groups.  Marshall B. Ketchum University owns and operates two premier eye and vision care centers – University Eye Center at Fullerton located on its campus in Fullerton, CA, and University Eye Center at Los Angeles located on Broadway at Martin Luther King Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles.


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