New York, NY—The world-renowned NGO, Helen Keller International, has partnered with the indispensable multi-service organization Isaacs Center to provide free vision screenings and exams, as well as prescription eyeglasses and vouchers for additional, more advanced care to hundreds of older adults in the community.
The two organizations extolled the partnership in being able to help older New Yorkers receive critical vision care, especially older New Yorkers who are experiencing financial hardship.
Indeed, according to the Isaacs Center, prior to the pandemic, nearly half of the older adults serviced through its programs and services lived at or below the poverty line, with 62 percent of those served indicating making tough financial decisions between food, rent and medical care.
That means that seniors are more apt to postpone going to an optometrist because the price for new eyeglass frames and lenses could exceed more than one hundred dollars.
Gregory Morris, President and Executive Director at the Isaacs Center, said that cost isn’t the only factor in contributing to older adults’ postponement of visiting their optometrist. It’s also an issue of mobility.
“So many of our seniors have significant vision challenges, and typically it’s very hard for them to find access, transportation or other resources to be able to get their eyes checked and their glasses fixed,” said Morris.
That’s why he highlighted the partnership with Heller Keller International.
“During this unprecedented time of crisis, with so many struggling to access public health systems, we are immensely grateful to the leadership team and program staff at HKI for maintaining this invaluable connection to the Isaacs Center community.”
Meghan Lynch, Director, US Vision Programs at Helen Keller International, noted that the NGO has been working with the Center for nearly two years and in that time has provided vision screenings and exams for 300 seniors, with 95 to 99 percent of the seniors receiving a pair of glasses.
She emphasized the feedback she’s heard from seniors who have been very appreciative of the partnership.
“Generally, people, before COVID, were very happy to see us, we provide a wonderful service, we really reduce the barriers to care, people don’t have to worry about transportation, they don’t have to worry about costs, they don’t have to worry about fighting with their health insurance company to get glasses that they need,” said Lynch.
She added, “I am very thankful for our continued partnership with Isaacs Center, especially during this challenging time. This partnership—and those like it—are crucial to ensuring our NY Vision Program can provide critical and routine vision care to those that might not otherwise be able to access it.”
And one of the seniors, Margaretta Goines, was glad for the availability of the clinic at Isaacs.
“I felt that the doctor was extremely professional and put me on the right path with my eye health. Having the clinic at Isaacs was very helpful because as a result of the pandemic my doctor is not available, and it would have been a great financial impact to make an appointment and get an exam and glasses elsewhere,” said Goines.