Shore Quality Outcomes Specialist Jane Johnston knows how important it is to get proper eye care as early as possible. Her now 25-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a serious visual impairment at age three, but after wearing thick corrective lenses until age nine, she now has perfect vision. But not everyone is as fortunate as Johnston’s daughter was, and that is what inspired her to coordinate an eyeglass donation drive at Shore Medical Center to benefit the Lions Club this winter. To date, the Shore eyeglass drive has brought in more than 200 pairs of glasses to help underprivileged people across the globe access affordable eyeglasses.
Johnston partnered with students from the Atlantic County Special Services School District who are interning in food and environmental services at Shore to promote the donation drive and collect the glasses. It was largely through their determination and support that the collection was so successful.
Johnston says, “My primary mission was to support the Lions Club, but along the way I was rewarded by the significant effort of my Shore colleagues who contributed so many pairs of glasses and embraced our Special Services School students so well.”
According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. Ninety percent of those people live in low-income areas, making it difficult for them to afford the high cost of eye care and glasses. Through the Lions Club’s eyeglass recycling program, anyone can donate their old pair of eyeglasses. The glasses are then cleaned, sorted by prescription strength and packaged and distributed to people in need in developing countries where they will have the most impact.
Johnston was so moved by the Lions Club that when she attended a meeting to drop off the first batch of eyeglasses, she immediately applied to become a member. The Lions Club will be sponsoring three college scholarships to our local high schools, are providing supplemental funding for cataract surgery for a local resident in need, and are working toward purchasing eye screening equipment for pre-school age children so that vision impairment can be reversed.
To learn more and find a Lions Club in your county, visit www.lionsclubs.org.