The new center involved planning and fundraising by area Lions Clubs, led by the Lorain Lions Club. The service group raised $258,000 to pay for state-of-the-art optometric equipment for the Lorain project.
It will fill a niche now, said Dr. John R. Smith, a Lorain Lion and project leader.
“Many optometrists struggle to find a place to refer patients with no ability to pay for ongoing eye care,” Smith said. “The (Health and Dentistry’s) eye clinic will help so many people with their vision and medical eye conditions and eye glass needs.”
An open house is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the new clinic. The event is open to the public.
Around the world, Lions clubs have focused on the prevention of blindness and assisting the blind since 1925, when the group members heard Helen Keller speak at their international convention at Cedar Point in Sandusky.
It is a mission that will help Lorain residents, said Stephanie Wiersma, Health and Dentistry president and chief executive officer.
“Joining forces with the Lions made our vision clinic possible,” she said. “The Lions mission to improve sight and prevent blindness perfectly matched our interest in improving access to vision care for those we serve. Their fundraising efforts are second to none. We couldn’t have opened this vision clinic without their help and support.”
The Lions clubs and members contributed $90,000 toward the cause. Additional contributions included $75,000 from Lions Clubs International Foundation; $50,000 from the Nord Family Foundation; and $43,450 from the Community Foundation of Lorain County.