Clinic will help Perry County residents see more clearly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Recently, over 1,200 Perry County citizens were screened at several different events, where 80 were found to need follow-up treatments.

Today, help is on the way. A free follow up eye clinic will take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. today at the Perry County Health Department to give them the appropriate treatment through EyeCare Alabama and UAB Vision Science Research Center Rural Alabama Diabetes and Glaucoma Initiative in partnership with the Black Belt Action Commission’s Health Committee.

The program, Project Manager of the BBAC Health Committee Chad Nichols said, was just a way of helping the people identified during the clinics to get the help and supplies they need.

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“About 75 percent of the people they are following up with had problems,” Nichols said. “During the follow up, they can provide them with glasses, or in extreme cases, they can suggest ways for them to get surgery for free.”

Many times in the Black Belt, people go without the proper eye care they need because of their financial situation, or a lack of doctors. Jeff Haddox, President and Founder of Sight Savers of Alabama, said they planned to bring the care and supplies they need to the people of Perry County.

“Eye Clinics are an important follow-up step to screenings performed in this part of the state,” Haddox said.

“Basically, some children and adults in this area are unable to reach the eye care they need.

When this happens on a large scale, members of the Black Belt Eye Care Consortium and other organizations pull together to bring the eye care to them.”

One of the few Pediatric Ophthalmologist in Alabama, Dr. Marty Cogen, as well as the chairman of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Lanning Kline, will provide children’s eye care.

Adult eye care will be provided by Dr. Won Kim, president of the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology and Dr. Kent Daum, associate professor at the UAB School of Optometry.

A Lens Crafters Optical technician will be onsite to fit eye glasses.

The follow up clinic, Nichols said, shows what can happen when the commission and health organizations work together.

“The Black Belt Eye Care Consortium is the perfect model to illustrate the purpose of the work of the Health Committee,” Nichols said. “This new partnership between eye care organizations was a direct result of the work of the BBAC with the goal of ensuring that Black Belt citizens receive comprehensive eye care including screening, follow-up care, and treatment.”

For more information on today’s clinic, call Haddox at (205) 276-8174.