Transforming Vision Services for Georgians Who Need it Most
ATLANTA (April 11, 2022) –Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation announces the first statewide Tele-Optometry vision program to serve uninsured and underinsured children, adults, and seniors in Georgia. Beginning with Ben Massell Dental Clinic of Jewish Family & Career Services in Atlanta, the first patients will receive eye exams utilizing this state-of-the art technology on April 20 – 21.
“Today in Georgia, 52 counties in Georgia have no vision services, explains Edwin Link, Executive Director, Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation. “This cutting-edge technology will enable us to bring vision services to Georgians who need them most.”
Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation operates two place-based clinics – one located in metro Atlanta (Chamblee), and the other at Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta. With strategic clinical partnerships and mobile clinic services, Georgia Lions Lighthouse covers all of Georgia, providing the full continuum of vision care – from vision screenings to full eye exams; the fitting of low-cost prescription glasses (made in – house) to no charge cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy surgeries; and referrals to needed vision specialists.
Ben Massell and Georgia Lions Lighthouse both help underserved communities in Georgia. The Ben Massell Dental Clinic of Jewish Family &Career Services, provides free comprehensive dental care, and Georgia Lions provides free or low-cost vision care.
“We could not be happier to welcome our valued partner, Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation back into our Dental Clinic in April. Vision and hearing services, like dental care, are often ignored, especially if one does not have it covered under a health insurance plan. Bringing these services together in one place for our patients brings joy to our hearts and critically important services to our patients,” said Melissa DaSilva, Managing Director at Ben Massell Dental Clinic.
Both nonprofits have suffered from a lack of volunteers to help their missions, and rising costs due to the Pandemic. Once dentists and optometrists started seeing patients again after the shutdown the pent-up need took up their planned volunteer hours. At Ben Massell Dental Clinic, a smaller amount of volunteer dentists has increased wait times for services. Ben Massell Dental Clinic continues to need additional dental volunteers. Learn more at www.benmasselldentalclinic.org
Why Tele Optometry | Access and Affordability
• Average patient cost exam/glasses = $25/person vs $300 of for profit
• 52 Georgia counties currently lack a vision care provider
• 30% of Georgia counties lack eye care services
• 1.4M Georgians were uninsured in 2019
• 408,000 low-income Georgians do not qualify for Medicaid in Georgia and make too little to get financial help to buy private insurance at healthcare.gov. These Georgians have incomes below the poverty line (less than $12,769 a year for an individual or $21,720 a year for a family of three) and fall into the coverage gap with no affordable health insurance options.
About Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation
Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation is the only organization to provide the full continuum of vision services to individuals statewide. Founded in 1942, Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation is committed to filling the gaps that still exist for underinsured Georgians by providing access to low-cost vision and hearing services. Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation partners with a statewide network of optometrists, ophthalmologists, and audiologists to provide vision screenings, eye exams, eyeglasses, eye surgeries, and hearing aids to over 7,000 Georgia residents each year. For more information call 404-325-3630 or visit https://lionslighthouse.org/
About Jewish Family & Career Services
Established in 1891, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers programs and resources to help the Atlanta community. Guided by Jewish values, JF&CS serves thousands of individuals annually regardless of age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. We offer counseling and therapy for individuals, families and groups, older adult services, careers and support services, intellectual and developmental disabilities services, as well as free dental services at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. For more information, please call 770.677.9300 or visit JFCSatl.org.