A student with the UAB School of Optometry examines a patient during the 2017 Gift of Sight event. Altogether, 260 patients received free eye care over four days.

The UAB School of Optometry and the Jefferson County Department of Health partnered for the fourth consecutive year to bring free comprehensive eye exams and glasses to low-income and underinsured Birmingham residents.

Altogether, 260 patients were seen during the Gift of Sight event, which was held Nov. 29 - Dec. 2 at the Western Health Center in Midfield, Alabama, and at UAB Eye Care, the School of Optometry’s clinical operation. Some patients will return for follow-up appointments for retina, glaucoma and specialty contact lenses, says Janene Sims, O.D., associate professor at the School of Optometry.

“Gift of Sight offers us the chance to provide quality eye care to those who otherwise would not receive it,” Sims says. “This event further demonstrates UAB’s commitment to community development and providing the highest quality of patient care to as many patients as possible.”

Since the program began in 2014, nearly 1,000 patients have been provided with eye exams and glasses at no charge. The annual event is coordinated by Community Eye Care, the community outreach arm of the School of Optometry. Gift of Sight is sponsored by VSP, Remote Area Medical, Alabama Lions Sight and Allergan.

Community Eye Care provides eye exams to underinsured and low-income residents of Birmingham through the Western Health Center in Midfield, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham Adult Day Program at LincPoint in Homewood, the Foundry in Bessemer, and the LoveLady Center in East Lake. They also provide care to underserved residents in the Black Belt communities across the state and in the Birmingham metropolitan area.