purpose: to analyze the results of recall absent schoolchildren to eye health projects. methods: cross-sectional study. visual screening was performed in schoolchildren attending 1st to 4th grades at public schools, from 7 to 10 years-old, to select and forward to complete ophthalmic evaluation. the projects were performed during weekends, at a public school, in the same municipality. free transportation, food and eyeglasses were offered. a second opportunity of examination was offered to the students who were absent from the first call, with the same facilities. results: 51,509 schoolchildren had their vision tested, 14,651 (28.4%) were referred for ophthalmic examination. of these, 8,683 (59.3%) attended the first call, 2,228 (37.3%) attended the recall and 25.5% of parents did not take their children to ophthalmic examination. the need for eyeglasses for children who attended the examination was 23.8% and 32.0% in the first opportunity and recall, respectively. the recall increased the coverage in 15.2% (59.3% to 74.5%). conclusion: an expressive number of parents (25.5%) did not bring their children to be examined, even at a second opportunity of exam. the facilities offered: access, free examination, transportation and glasses. children who were absent in the first opportunity and appeared at recall had a greater need for eyeglasses. recall increased the coverage in 15.2% (59.3% to 74.5%) and it is not recommended when financial resources are limited.