Starting the new school year without being able to see properly can set a student up for failure.

“You need to see well to do well,” said optometrist Rabia Awan, of Lumen Optical in Kildeer.

The store recently welcomed over 20 children from Ela Township’s Shooting Stars summer program to give them free eye exams and new glasses so they can get off to a great start when school resumes Aug. 25.

“I think it’s wonderful because it’s one of the hardest things for the children to get, and they get broken all the time,” said Alexandria Tonigan, Ela Township Youth Director.

“We’ve had some kids waiting almost a year to get their glasses from the state and they’re getting them in less than a week from Lumen Optical,” she said. “When I heard about this, I jumped on it. It’s the last hurrah before they go off to school.”

Philanthropy is important to Lumen Optical, which opened in Kildeer in March.

“We really wanted to get in with the community and help kids who were in need of glasses,” said Markasa Sartor, store manager. “There’s no cost for the exams or glasses.”

Following their eye exam, children who needed prescription glasses had the opportunity to choose from 37 different frames. The polycarbonate lenses are scratch resistant and have an anti-glare coating.

“It’s a high impact lens that’s best for kids,” Sartor said.

Andy Mazurek said his 13-year-old grandson, Dominik, had not had a new pair of glasses in about a year, and the ones he had no longer fit properly. “I think it’s great,” he said of the back-to-school eye exam.

Lake Zurich mom Anna Toth said her son Alexander, 7, has enjoyed fun and educational activities all summer through Ela Township’s Shooting Stars program, but receiving a free eye exam “was definitely unexpected.”

“I think it’s a wonderful part of the program, and I could even bring my younger son, Patryk. The doctor was fantastic and made it a lot of fun. They even got a coupon for free ice cream,” she said.

Ela Township’s Youth Program offers a variety of activities in a safe, supervised setting, including the after school program Thrive After Three. Registration is now being accepted for the new school year. Learn more at