By Sam Skopp
Lions Club locations throughout the state participated in an event titled Lions Eyes Across California Saturday, March 18, offering free vision assistance through nonprofit organizations. The Santa Monica Lions Branch held their event at the Church of Pearl on Pearl Street, and had many people start showing up for vision screenings at 8 in the morning, an hour before the event was scheduled to start.
“The first woman who was here this morning got here at 7:15, and she was here from Londale,” said Susan DeRemer, president of the Santa Monica Lions Club. In order to arrive at that time, DeRemer explained, she had to board a bus at 4:45 in the morning.
People attending the event explained that they had tried in the past to receive vision assistance services in their city or county, but found that they had a hard time getting what they required.
The vision services in Santa Monica were provided by the Stein Eye Institute Mobile Screening Unit; Vision to Learn, a nonprofit that offer free eyeglasses to children; the Westside Family Health Center, that also ran a mobile screening unit; representatives from Covered Community, who reviewed healthcare options with attendees; and representatives from The Center for the Partially Sighted who outlined their services as well.
“We have two doctors and two residents who work with Jill Stein. And we have someone here from an optometry school helping give out the eyeglasses,” said DeRemer.
Vision to Learn ran 15 free eye exams and gave away 13 pairs of glasses during the event. Additional eyeglasses were graded and sorted by prescription, and given out to more attendees than DeRemer could count.
The event is in its third year, following its suggestion to be statewide by a Lions Club member in Ventura.
“There’s discussion of making it a national event next year or the year after,” said DeRemer.
For more information on Lions Eyes Across America and Santa Monica Lions Club, visit e-clubhouse.org/sites/santamonica.