Joint effort will expand access to vision care and deliver free eye care and services

DALLAS, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Vision Impact Institute (VII) is pleased to join a partnership that brings eye care services to vulnerable populations in Panama. The partnership includes Lions Club Penonome, Panama, Universidad Especializada de las Americas (UDELAS) Panama, The School of Optometry at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Vision for Life – Essilor, Optometry Giving Sight and VOSH International.  Together these groups will conduct comprehensive eye exams, provide glasses, diagnose vision problems, gather data, and create awareness of vision health for approximately 1,500 people in Panama City’s Guna Nega community.

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The native groups represent 12% of Panama’s population.  The Guna Nega make up 20% of this population and have limited access to and awareness of vision care services.

“Panama has an estimated 570,000 people with correctable vision loss. This creates a social and economic impact on all populations, including those that are vulnerable,” says Judith Williams, Program Manager, The Americas, VII. “The goal of this collaboration of NGOs, academics, and philanthropists – reaching those who may have no other opportunity to see well – speaks volumes to our commitment to creating a world that prioritizes good vision for all. The VII is thrilled to be a part of this change.”

“In addition to providing humanitarian services, the data obtained will allow us to determine the characteristics of refractive errors and visual health of this community,” say Drs. Héctor Santiago and Damaris Pagán, coordinators of the seven-day visit that includes faculty and students from the School of Optometry of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

Eng. Mario Him, District D-1 past Governor of the Lions of Panama, agrees: “This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Lions, together with other collaborators, to serve the visual health needs of the most vulnerable communities in Panama.”

The project will run through the end of 2022.

About the Vision Impact Institute
The Vision Impact Institute’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of vision correction and protection to make good vision a global priority. The Vision Impact Institute is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which receives support from the Vision for Life Fund from Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics.

Contact:
Andrea Kirsten-Coleman
Global Communications Manager
andrea.kirsten@visionimpactinstitute.org

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