Light House

whitecane

Each year the club members hold events to raise funds under the White Cane Day title to be able to assist in the operation of the Georgia Lions facility known as the Georgia Lions Lighthouse.  This center recycles eyeglasses and hearing aids, holds eye screening booths across the state and assists with eye surgeries for those that do not have insurance and qualify based on other criteria.  All funds raised under the White Cane Day logo go directly to the Lighthouse each year to keep it operational.

The reach of the Lighthouse extends across the state, and services have been provided in every county. The Lighthouse facilitated over 400 eye surgeries last year, provided 4,860 brand new pairs of eyeglasses, and gave 2,620 eye exams. In addition, 962 people received 1,790 hearing aids through our new digital aid program.

To be eligible for services, patients must
• be uninsured or underinsured and
• fall below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. The majority of Lighthouse patients, 66 percent, fall below 100% of the FPG.

As with the uninsured, patients with Medicaid or Medicare coverage are frequently unable to afford comprehensive vision and hearing care. In Georgia, federal benefits will usually cover eye exams, but not prescription eyeglasses or hearing aids for adults.

Given the lack of available services, many Lighthouse patients have not had proper care for years. The average age of a Lighthouse patient is 55, and those in the hearing aid program are typically over the age of 65. Many clients have hypertension (49%) or diabetes (29%), two of the leading causes of blindness, making ongoing eye exams critical to preventative care.

Without routine care, it is not uncommon for vision and hearing loss to worsen over time, gradually restricting mobility and independence. Others struggle for years with severe impairments that make daily tasks – driving to the store, reading labels, talking on the phone – extremely difficult. The Lighthouse helps restore self-sufficiency and self-esteem: following eye surgery, 95% of patients are more independent and feel safer; 60% are able to drive again, and 22% are able to resume work. We are now accepting interns. Click here to learn about how you can get involved!