Jonas Children’s Vision Care

Jonas Children’s Vision Care (JCVC) was created in 2016 as a shared vision of Barbara and Donald Jonas and the leadership in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. It is a multi-faceted initiative with the overarching goal of preventing blindness and treating vision disorders in children.

The Forefront of Pediatric Eye Care

JCVC is at the forefront of pediatric eye care, benefiting from the clinical, technological, and intellectual resources of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, and the Harkness Eye Institute.

The program has assembled a premier group of ophthalmologists and research scientists, all dedicated to helping children and families through integrated clinical care, education and training, genetics, scientific research, and advocacy.

At JCVC, children and families receive truly outstanding, family-centered pediatric vision care, including access to a multidisciplinary team of experts, state-of-the-art imaging and testing, and the resources of a major medical center. The program is delivering all aspects of vision care, from the simple to the complex.

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JCVH Programs

  • Advanced Clinical Care: Pediatric ophthalmologists, scientists, educators, and genetics experts have come together to create a world-class center for pediatric eye care.
  • Innovative Research: JCVC is leading the way to precision medicine-based treatments and is a national referral center for stem-cell regenerative medicine, CRISPR genome surgery, and gene therapies. 
  • Genetics and Genetic Testing: Collaboration with Columbia’s Institute for Genomic Medicine provides unrivaled support for modern genetic testing and diagnoses tied to hereditary eye diseases.


Pupils Project

Created by Warby Parker in 2015, Pupils Project eliminates barriers to access by providing free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to schoolchildren in need via public-private partnerships.

Expanding Vision Care to NYC School Children

Jonas Philanthropies is proud to partner with Pupils Project and honor Mr. Jonas’ mission to improve the lives of kids with vision problems.

In 2015, Pupils Project joined with the City of New York, the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Community Schools, and the Office of School Health to provide free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to students enrolled in NYC Community Schools.

With the help of Jonas Philanthropies and various cross-sector partners and government agencies, Pupils Project is scaling the program in New York City to serve all Community Schools students, kindergarteners, and first-graders. 

The expanded initiative will provide services to over 230,000 students over the course of the 2021-2022 school year.

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By the numbers

Pupils Project is making an impact. To-date:

  • 516,000 students screened
  • 130,000 eye exams
  • 120,000 free prescription glasses



Vision To Learn

Prior to the pandemic, Jonas Philanthropies as part of its Vision Program was supporting exams and glasses to low-income students in New York schools through our partnership with Warby Parker’s Pupil’s Project . Because the schools were closed for a great deal of last year due to COVID, Jonas Philanthropies found an alternative solution by partnering with Vision to Learn to set up mobile clinics to serve the children in summer programs throughout the state of New Jersey.  to provide them with proper vision care. At Camp Vacamas, Jonas Philanthropies and Vision To Learn will provide children with 330 eye screenings, 75 eye exams and donate 60 pairs of prescription glasses.

Vision To Learn operates in more than 325 cities in 13 states. Their model employs mobile examination vans that go to schools, youth centers, and camps in low-income communities to give exams and provide glasses free of charge.

Running as a full summer program, Jonas Philanthropies and Vision To Learn brought accessible vision care to 11 youth programs and summer camps throughout the state of New Jersey this past summer. In total, our work provided 2,695 screenings, 1,057 exams and provide 864 pairs of glasses to children.

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Recent Coverage of Jonas Philanthropies’ Partnership with Vision To Learn:

A summer camp bonus- free eye exams and glasses– Source: PBS 13 and New Jersey Spotlight News

Swimming, sports and an eye exam. Volunteers give out free glasses at NJ summer camp– Source:

Campers in West Milford get free glasses thanks to NY charities – Source:

Mobile clinic visits New Jersey camps to give eyeglasses to children from low-income communities – Source:


Jonas Vision Health investments

Stem Cell Research to Address Degenerative Retinal Disease

The Barbara & Donald Jonas Stem Cell Laboratory at the Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia University was established to use stem cell research to cure degenerative retinal diseases, specifically Late Onset Retinal Dystrophy (LORD) — a rare hereditary condition that destroys the cells responsible for peripheral vision and depth perception.

Vision Health news

Jonas Philanthropies is engaged in supporting efforts to fight low vision and blindness.

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