Patients from Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine (BJVIM) will soon have access to free vision screenings. Thanks to generous donations from local Lions Clubs, individuals and grants, a room in the Ridgeland clinic has been outfitted with state-of-the art ophthalmic equipment.
“We will be one of only a handful of free clinics in South Carolina to have an ophthalmic exam on site,” said Pam Toney, BJVIM executive director.
A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. August 19 at the Ridgeland Clinic, located at 11332 N. Jacob Smart Blvd. The public also is invited to free vision screenings completed by the Sun City Lions Club from 1-3 p.m.
Dr. James Kondor, an optometrist on Hilton Head, is leading the charge in soliciting local Lions Clubs for donations and also in donating his time for the clinic. Kondor, a Lions Club member himself, spoke to the boards of directors at the Hilton Head Island Noon Lions Club, the Sun City Lions Club and the Beaufort Lions Club, securing a total of $16,000 the Lions Clubs, along with $2,300 in individual donations.
“I told each club’s board of directors, ‘If certain vision problems were left undetected, it may cause patients to lose their sight.’ That hit home with them,” Kondor said. “The goal of the Lions Club is to eradicate treatable eye diseases in the world.”
Toney said many of BJVIM patients suffer from diabetes and are in desperate need for quality eye care. Many of the conditions that they expect to come across include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, low vision and cataracts.
Kondor said he knows first-hand the importance of vision screenings in underserved populations.
“I found more eye diseases in one day in rural areas than a week on Hilton Head Island,” he said. “So, I knew there was a real need to diagnose and to treat eye diseases that most of these people don’t get care for.”
The clinic’s first day for appointments will be from 1:30-4:30 p.m. August 25th at the Ridgeland Clinic. Initially, Kondor will spend one day a month volunteering at the clinic. The purpose for the eye clinic is to provide vision screenings, prescriptions for eye glasses, diagnose eye diseases, and to treat some eye diseases and then possibly to refer certain cases to specialists. Kondor said he hopes to recruit other eye specialists to help expand services.
Optometrists and other eye specialists who are interested in volunteering their time are encouraged to call Pam Toney at 843-706-7090 ex 104.