Vision Alliance is helping tornado victims regain sight

A mobile eye-care unit is rolling into the areas hardest hit by recent tornadoes to help storm victims.

On April 27, 2011, many residents of Alabama lost everything in the blink of an eye, leaving many people unable to see the world clearly – figuratively and literally.

“It was something; it was unbelievable. We had family members in Pratt City who lost everything. We had a tree on our house and damage, but other than that, it’s unbelievable,” says A.C. Jones Jr. Although Jones survived the storm, he lost a necessity — his eyeglasses.

The Alabama Vision Alliance, comprising the UAB School of Optometry and Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital at UAB, Sight Savers America, Lions Clubs of Alabama and Vision Service Plan, has dispatched a VSP mobile eye-care unit to the hardest hit areas to provide new lenses and eye exams.

“A lot of us can’t afford it right now by just working, especially those without insurance through their jobs, so this is really wonderful,” says Jones.

UAB optometry faculty and senior students who are staffing the bus enjoy the opportunity to help others and do what they love.

“We’ve been told on several occasions, ‘Thank you so much, God bless you for this service,’ and we’re just really glad to do it. It needs to be done, and we have the equipment to provide the service,” says Janene Sims, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB School of Optometry.

The bus will travel to Cordova May 20-21, Cullman May 23-24 and Moulton May 26 and the morning of May 27. For more information on the mobile eye-care unit, call Sight Savers at 205-991-4878.

In Birmingham, Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital and Optical Prescription Lab will conduct refraction services and provide replacement lenses at no cost to qualified individuals through the Alabama Lions Eye Clinic, located in the Callahan Eye Hospital, 1720 University Blvd.