Health
Thursday, June 14th, 2001
Some area people get free eye exams
Dr. Susan Betts participated again this year in a special vision plan that donates services and materials. The eye care services were donated through the national VISION USA program, which provides free eye care to low-income, uninsured workers and their families. It is sponsored by members of the American Optometric Association and the Delaware Optometric Association who volunteer their services. In the program's first ten years, approximately 283,000 people have been helped. Dr. Betts said that each January the association provides a toll-free number for people to call to apply for free eye care through VISION USA. In February, those who qualify are matched with optometrists in their communities. The patients then schedule their appointments. The eye exams are usually done in March. More than 7000 optometrists participate in the program across the country. According to Dr. Betts, nearly nine out of 10 people who have received care each year through VISION USA have had one or more eye health or vision problems. "In many cases, those problems have interfered with their ability to get and hold jobs, or to learn in schools," said Dr. Betts. "We saw a patient this year who had not had an eye exam in more than 20 years." "We created VISION USA as a way for us to give something back to our communities by helping people who need eye care but have no eye care insurance benefits, don't qualify for government assistance, and can't afford to pay for eye care," said Dr. Betts. Applications for next year's program will be accepted beginning in October. Interested persons may send for an application by writing to VISION USA, 243 N. Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63141, or visit the AOA Web site at www.aoanet.org, under "Meet the AOA." Administrative costs for this year's VISION USA program came from a grant from VSP, the nation's largest eye care wellness benefits provider.

Minner says support Red Cross
Governor Ruth Ann Minner urges Delawareans to help the American Red Cross support disaster relief efforts in communities across the state and around the country by helping to raise $20 million for the National Disaster Relief Fund before June 30. "Last year in Delaware alone, the American Red Cross Spent $280,000 in disaster relief, responded to 184 disaster incidents, and provided vital lifesaving assistance to 283 families," Minner said. "Imagine the Delaware Art Museum, the Sheraton Dover Ballroom or the Rusty Rudder filled to capacity-that's about how many disaster victims the American Red Cross has helped so far this year in our state alone. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. To help the victims of disaster, contributions can be made to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or 1-800-257-7575.