SEVERAL SENIOR citizens and children were among hundreds of persons who seized the opportunity to get free eye-care services at the Lions Club Civic Centre in Linstead, St Catherine, recently.
The service was offered through a partnership between the Lions Club of North St Catherine and the Canadian Vision Care (CVC) group.
In its quest to create quality health care, the club has been working with the team of Canadian doctors for almost three decades to offer assistance to the most vulnerable in Linstead and its environs.
More than 500 persons benefited from the service, which was offered over a two-day period.
Discussing the initiative, president of the club, Evan Collins, said the main focus was to offer quality service to the community.
"It is a good feeling to be able to provide this quality service to persons in the area. It took a lot of work, because we started screening from as early as September and so we are happy that it is successful," he said.
Evans, however, called on local experts and corporate Jamaica to get on board in offering the service, as the need is great in the area.
"The demand is huge and so it would be good if we could get local health professionals to get on board to provide free eye-care to more persons in the area, and corporate Jamaica to assist in funding the glasses for the patients," he explained.
Dr Patrick Murphy, CVC optometrist, said the team is elated that it was able to provide free examinations, glaucoma medications and eyeglasses for the less fortunate in the area.
"The primary reward that we get is the opportunity to be able to provide a service that is so essential to the betterment of the future of the country, especially children. To be able to have a child see well is our first and foremost reason for doing this, as that is the most important thing for them to be able to learn," he said.
Dr Murphy said the group, through its yearly visit to Jamaica, aims to help persons who have serious eye-care needs, but are unable to seek medical assistance due to financial challenges.
"It is a good exercise we are doing in Jamaica and the persons here are grateful for the help, so we will keep coming back," he added.
Agustine Oakley, 58, who benefited from the service, said the help came just in time.
"I feel good, because I can't afford to go to the doctor, considering the price for glasses. My eyes are dark, I can't even see to read, so I am grateful for the help, because I would soon get blind," she said.