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Hundreds of children receive free eye exams

Published:Wednesday | October 16, 2019 | 1:52 AM

Hundreds of children from St Mary have benefited from free eye examinations at vision clinics staged by the Issa Trust Foundation.

The clinics, held in collaboration with the Lions Club of Michigan and the Vision Mission Team of Altoona, Iowa, took place at the Oracabessa Church of God from October 7 to 9.

President and chief executive officer of the foundation Diane Pollard said that 887 children received eye checks and 172 pairs of glasses were dispensed over the three days.

She said the mission team comprised four optometrists, a licensed medical doctor, a licensed optician, and 15 volunteer technicians “who provided comprehensive eye exams and fitted the children with glasses free of charge”.


She noted that all the glasses provided were previously used and were collected, sorted, cleaned, measured, and shipped from the United States to Jamaica.

“The Lions use a computer programme to search for the best glasses that they have in their supply which is closest to the child’s prescription needs,” she said.

In addition to the students examined, a clinic was held at Couples Swept Away for staff of that property and Couples Negril, where 329 employees were seen and 220 received glasses.

Pollard said that for five years, the Issa Trust Foundation and the Lions Club of Michigan have been working together to bring teams of optometrists, licensed doctors, opticians, and volunteer technicians to provide comprehensive eye exams for Jamaican children, with 4,700 pairs of gently used eyeglasses provided.

She said that the foundation is pleased to provide this service so that children will be able to perform at an optimum level in school.

In addition to the vision mission, the foundation made a donation of approximately $34 million towards the renovation of the Paediatric Ward at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, which was completed last year.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton commended the Issa Trust Foundation and other partners for working with the Government to increase access to healthcare for Jamaicans.

He said that the demands on the health sector are such that the assistance being offered by private-sector companies and individuals is greatly appreciated.

He noted that in addition to these philanthropic efforts, the ministry is engaging Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora in improving primary healthcare facilities through the Adopt-a-Clinic Initiative.

“I want to place on record our appreciation for these acts of goodwill to Jamaica,” Tufton said.

“The truth is that Government can’t do everything on its own, and this is not an excuse; it is a reality, particularly as it relates to public health, as the demands of the system keep getting more and more,” he noted.