Raven Moore knows how important it is to have her eyesight checked annually.
The 55-year-old Grovetown resident is an insulin-dependent diabetic and is aware of how her age and illness can affect her vision.
"I just couldn't afford it," Moore said of eye exams.
But Moore got her eyes and prescription checked and chose new glasses recently at the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation eye clinic.
The foundation teamed up with several area nonprofit health clinics to provide vision services for low-income residents. The clinic, held at Church of Our Savior Episcopal Church in Martinez, was one of several pilot clinics the foundation has conducted statewide.
"This is a blessing having this eye clinic, because I haven't been able to have my eyes tested in two years," said Moore, who has been a diabetic for more than 20 years. "I don't want to lose my vision."
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States for adults ages 24-75, according to the National Eye Institute.
Dr. Wesley Broome, a Martinez optometrist, volunteered his services.
"I'm glad to do it," Broome said. "I look for opportunities like this."
Up to 20 patients who attend the clinics receive a full-dilated eye exam. They are then able to pick out frames and glasses will be mailed to them, said Shamae Duncan, foundation office manager and clinic coordinator. The eye exam is free. The fee for glasses is on a sliding scale based on the patient's financial situation and can be up to $20.
The success of the clinic might lead to monthly sessions, Duncan said. Of the 20 appointments available at the first clinic, 15 were filled. In the past year, clinics have been held in Athens, Atlanta, Brunswick, Macon, Tifton, Savannah and Waycross.
The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, founded in 1949, provides vision and hearing care to state residents in financial need.
Moore told Broome she needed glasses mainly to drive at night and to see street signs and address numbers. She was hesitant when he suggested bifocals.
"It was an amazing difference," Moore said, suddenly excited about bifocals after reading through a test pair during her eye exam.
All patients at the clinic must qualify by proving they have been a Georgia resident for at least one year, are under the 200 percent federal poverty level and are under- or uninsured.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling Robyn Freeh, regional volunteer coordinator for the Georgia Volunteer Healthcare Program, at (706) 447-3748.
For information about the clinics or the foundation, or for a vision services application, visit www.lionslighthouse.org or call (800) 718-SITE (7483).
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