ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Von Miller remembers getting his first pair of eyeglasses before starting the second grade. “It wasn’t cool back then to wear glasses,” the 34-year-old NFL star said. “I used to fall asleep in my glasses, bend them, and break them. My mom used to tape them up, and they used to be on my face crooked.”
Corrected vision “definitely was life changing,” for Miller, however, in the classroom and on the football field. That inspired him to create the Von’s Vision Foundation upon entering the league with the Denver Broncos 10 years ago. Miller, now entering his second season with the Buffalo Bills, held his second glasses reveal event Monday at Highmark Stadium, gifting more than 200 pairs of glasses to children.
“We’re here to make glasses cool,” said Miller, who owns more than 100 designer frames. “I’ve had vision problems, wore glasses and contacts my whole life. Glasses are cool, and I’m here to be an example of that. There’s a lot of celebrities around the league and around the world making glasses cool. And it’s super special that kids feel that way, most importantly.”
Miller partnered with Atwal Eye Care in Orchard Park to identify 250 children in need of eye examinations. About 80 percent of those required glasses, and Von’s Vison Foundation was able to provide each two pair.
“I know kids can be hard on frames. I’m hard on frames,” said Miller, who also unveiled Von’s Locker, a new display for Atwal Eye Care where children can pick out their second set of frames.
Mary Carroll brought her four children ages 7 to 10 for eye exams. Two required glasses, and the others enjoyed the experience at the Monday’s unveiling, which included activities, face painting and the opportunity to take photos with Miller.
“The program is phenomenal,” Carroll said. “It’s saving us a bundle, right before school starts. Perfect timing, and with a spare pair in case they break. The stigma of having glasses has changed over the years because people like Von Miller make wearing them cool.”
Miller stressed the importance of children having their vision checked before the start of a new school year.
“Sometimes when you are in need of glasses, it’s not that you don’t understand the work, you’re just not able to see the board,” Miller said. “I remember starting school with a fresh new pair of glasses.”
Miller remains on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee. But he expects to get back on the field for the Bills soon.
“This is my way of give back to the community that has given so much to me,” Miller said. “Especially here in Buffalo, it’s all about community, it’s all about love, it’s all about family, and to be able to give back to the kids and their families, it’s huge.
“I always keep going to that great Spiderman quote from Uncle Ben: with great power comes great responsibility. We have a huge blessing to play in the NFL, huge responsibility, and huge platform to be able to do good.”