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Lions need eyeglass donations to help give gift of sight

The Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center in Medford is short on donated eyeglasses.

Executive Director Glory Cooper said in a news release the center has about 4,200 pairs but needs 7,000 for an upcoming vision clinic April 4, when the refurbished eyeglasses will be given to low-income, underinsured people from Jackson and Josephine counties.

“The more prescription variations that we have on hand the more people we can match up exactly with a pair of recycled eyeglasses," she said in the release.

The center has a long waiting list of low-income clients needing eye exams and eyeglasses. The list includes seniors on Social Security, college students, people who are disabled, and people who are underemployed. No one on the list has insurance coverage for exams or eyeglasses.

In operation since 1969, the Southern Oregon Lions Sight and Center is to provide financial assistance to clients in need of eyeglasses and hearing aids. As funding for these programs is limited to a handful of cases per month, vision clinics were established last year to provide up to 200 people with eye exams and at least one pair of eyeglasses in one day.

The April clinic will be the Lions' third and is entirely run by volunteers. Donations are being requested now so that volunteers and staff can sort, sanitize, read the prescriptions, bag up the glasses, and get them in the inventory database by the April clinic.

Eyeglasses can be dropped off at the center, 228 N. Holly St., at any time. Other drop locations include Eye Care Associates, 935 Royal Ave; Paden Eye Care, 221 Stewart Ave; and Medical Eye Center, 1333 E. Barnett Road. Tax-deductible cash donations are also being accepted to help fund eyeglasses for clients who have severe prescriptions and therefore cannot be served at the vision clinic. Call 541-779-3653 for more information or for additional eyeglasses drop locations.