Area Lions continue efforts to improve sight of impaired

Above is one of the donation boxes that are located around the region for residents to drop-off eyeglasses.

Born in Tuscumbia, Ala., in 1880, Helen Keller developed a fever at 18 months of age that left her blind and deaf. With the help of an exceptional teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan of the Perkins School for the Blind, Helen Keller learned sign language and braille.

A few years later, she learned to speak. As an adult she became a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. And in 1925, she attended the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

The Lions accepted her challenge and our work ever since has included sight programs aimed at preventable blindness.

Since Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917, Lions have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Indeed, sight is one of Lions defining causes.

Through professional training, healthcare system development and wide spread drug treatment distribution, Lions have gained worldwide recognition for their work to improve sight and prevent blindness. Lions around the world are also actively involved in:

¯ Recycling eyeglasses at 18 centers worldwide.

¯ Supporting Lions Eye Banks that provide eye tissue for sight-saving surgeries.

¯ Screening the vision of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

¯ Preventing blindness by providing treatment to those at risk of losing their vision.

Eyeglass Recycling — How You Can Help

If you have used eyeglasses you no longer need, you can donate them now. Lions accept prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses and plastic and metal frames. Children’s glasses are especially needed. Here’s how you can help.

Lions Clubs International Foundation — Sight Programs

In addition to all of the programs mentioned above, Lions Clubs International Foundation supports several large-scale partnership initiatives, research opportunities and grant programs that aid the Lions in their sight saving efforts

Lions proudly support recreational camps that are customized to meet the special needs of children and adults who are blind or who have severe vision loss. With input from experts — physicians, departments and ministries of health and local foundations — Lions have organized recreational camps to give these individuals the unique experience of camping.

A vision screening is performed to identify possible vision problems. Lions partner with eye care professionals to carry out joint screening events. Currently, the Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club works with the Chautauqua Blind Association to help with their Vision Screening program in schools in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County. In just about any home, one can find a pair of eyeglasses that are no longer being used. That same pair of eyeglasses can change another person’s life.That’s why the Lions started the Recycle for Sight program. Everyone can help.

Throughout the year, Lions, and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses and deliver them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers. Volunteers clean, sort by prescription strength and package the glasses. Recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in low- and middle-income communities where they will have the greatest impact.

In just about any home, one can find a pair of eyeglasses that are no longer being used. That same pair of eyeglasses can change another person’s life. All types of used eyeglasses and sunglasses, prescription and non-prescription, for children and adults are accepted by the Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club, including exceptionally strong or weak prescriptions.

Imagine if you could help a child read, an adult flourish in their job, a senior citizen keep their independence either in the United States or in a foreign country. An estimated 120 million people are visually impaired — far and near sightedness. Almost all cases can be corrected, and normal vision can be restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.

When donating your glasses, you are becoming part of the International Lion’s global mission. These eye glasses are given to people at no charge to them. Each year, individuals donate approximately 7 million pairs of glasses to their Lions Clubs International Eyeglass Recycling Centers. There are 14 recycling sites in the United States.

Here is a list of drop off sites serviced by the Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club: Clark Law Office in Fredonia; Lake Shore Banks, Chadwick Bay, Community Eye Care Center, WalMart, Silver Creek Optical, Lakeshore Eye Care, Brocton Village Hall; Darwin Barker Library; M&T Bank; Dr. Ihrig’s Office; Inner Lakes Credit Union locations; TOPS; Albert Eye Care; Brooks Memorial Hospital; Lakeview Correctional Facility.

The Dunkirk Fredonia Lion responsible for what happens when the glasses are picked up at the above sites is Lion George Watson. For the last year and a half Lion Watson has brought to WalMart, 5,128 pairs of glasses that were then sent to the New Jersey Recycling Center and 948 pairs of glasses and cases taken to the Tonawanda drop off site.

At WalMart a truck takes the glasses to the nearest Lions Recycling Center in New Jersey at the Katzenbach School in West Trenton, New Jersey. Since 1998, New Jersey Recycling Center has collected 10,883,203 pairs of eyeglasses. These eyeglasses were then sent to skilled volunteers — seniors in Lakehurst-Manchester and inmates of the Edna Mahon Women’s Correctional Facility near Clinton and the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel. These volunteers are people who volunteers their time and have a desire to help others. At these places, the glasses are sorted, cleaned and examined to determine their prescription.

In 2017, 73,928 pairs of eye glasses were forwarded to a variety of medical? Some of them went into inventory awaiting development, but most of them were too scratched or worn out for reuse. So these lenses and frames were sold to a specialized recycling company – Re Specs, Los Angeles, California with the earnings benefiting Lions projects.

Sunglasses and reading glasses are taken by Lion George Watson to a drop off location in North Tonawanda. From there they are taken by the West Seneca Lions, sorted and boxed to help the Nicaragua Eye Care Mission Project. This project is run locally by the Pendleton Lions Club working together with Hopeful Ways. The Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club supports this agency with donations.

If you would like to become a member of the Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club, please contact Lion President Tom Panasci at 679-4978 or Lion Vice President Virginia Harper at 672-4045.