Free eye care services are available from the Kentucky Vision Project. Doctors, non-profits, and charities such as Community Action Centers have donated millions of dollars with the goal of helping low income families access the eye care exams and/or glasses they need.
There are four organizations that partner together to run this program in the state. They include the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA), local Salvation Army centers, community action agencies, as well as the non-profit Kentucky Home Place. All of these groups organize the volunteer eye doctors who provide the care. The organizations also partner with groups such as the Lions Club to ensure glasses and vision equipment gets to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it.
The assistance is available to the needy as part of the Kentucky Vision Project. Tens of thousands of working poor families, children, senior citizens, and uninsured have receive the eye care they need as a result of the project. They have in effect receive the “gift of sight” from it.
All sorts of situations are covered. Whether the applicant has a need just for a basic annual exam, a more serious condition (such as cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetes) or if they just need low cost prescription glasses, assistance is given to them. Based on need and funding levels, thousands of individuals are supported each year.
Another focus of the Vision Project in Kentucky is on preventative check ups. All residents (regardless of their income) are encouraged to make annual appointment for a vision exam. These are very important, especially for younger children as well as senior citizens in the state.
These annual tests are where an optometrist may diagnose a more serious condition. The earlier it is discovered the more ways to cure it are available. Or if a child is diagnosed with poor vision, by given them prescription glasses (at no cost to them) this can prevent more longer term damage to them. If a child has glasses given to them the chances of long term vision loss will be greatly reduced.
Other emergency type care may be arranged. As the eye exam progresses, there will be assistance given to the patient for any issues caught. If the results show that glasses are needed, then that will be arranged. However the Vision Project will require a small fee (or donation) to be paid. The minimum is $25, but donations of larger amounts are always appreciated.
This small amount of money is used to pay for administrative costs. It allows the Kentucky Vision Project to help even more people as the money that is available for the program will go that much further. It is a small amount of money to pay for professional care. Also, it allows residents to give back to their community and can be thought of as a small token of thanks.
All of the eye care programs are the result of volunteer optometrists. They provide free testing on their own time and using their equipment. However the Kentucky Vision Project does need some money to pay for maintenance on the equipment. There will also be some items (such as medications or prescription glasses) which they need to buy on the open market. So donations help pay for those goods too.
Free eye care is also due to the result of partners such as Lions Club as well as the Salvation Army. Many community clinics in Kentucky also take part in in. They have case managers that refer very low income families to assistance programs. The network of Community Action Centers in Kentucky also coordinate this care. They can also help residents apply for Medicaid and other benefits, some of which help pay for eye care bills.
For more information, dial 1-800-320-2406. Referrals will be given to a local optometrist.
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