The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF) represents the Oregon Chapter of the Mission Cataract USA Program, which, with its partners, delivers free cataract surgeries to people of all ages who lack the means to pay for this critical care, or do not have qualifying insurance. OLSHF helps identify residents in need and then partners with ophthalmologists, like the Legacy Devers Eye Institute, to perform sight-saving surgeries.
Each year, OLSHF provides free cataract surgeries thanks to partnering doctors and hospitals throughout the state. Additional Mission Cataract partners include EyeHealth NW, Dr. Mathew Neale with Pacific Cataract and Laser, Dr. Martin Balish with Oregon Eye Specialists, and Dr. Douglas Merritt and Dr. Mark Maffett at Cascade Eye Care Center.
To access this program, applicants must call the OLSHF at (503) 413-7399 phone or e-mail their contact information and request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The applicant must qualify for assistance under the Lions Patient Care Guidelines specified by the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
To qualify, a client must:
It should be noted that the Lions Foundation is considered a “court of last resort.” All other possible resources should be exhausted before the Patient Care Program is accessed.
Mission Cataract USA was started in 1991 by Frederick A. Richburg, MD, Medical Director of Valley Eye Institute in California. He decided to donate one day for free cataract surgery and launched the program with a group of local volunteers in Fresno.
In 1993, the Mission Cataract USA program expanded nationwide and Jon-Marc Weston, MD, of Weston Eye Center, Roseburg, started the program in Oregon. As a Roseburg Lion, Dr. Weston’s goal was to have clubs in every Oregon community partner with surgeons and facilities for an annual free program. ”Having participated in international surgical missions, I saw a great unmet need where people in my own community couldn’t access this vision restoring procedure because of inability to pay. I decided to take a more proactive approach and provide surgery to an average of 20 people each year,” said Dr. Weston. In 2008, Martin Balish, MD, of Oregon Eye Specialists, was recruited to Mission Cataract by the Beaverton Lions Cub. Dr. Balish, anesthesiologist Dr. Todd Tolan, and the entire staff donate their expertise, equipment, supplies and facility every year to assist at least eight people every year. ”So many eye doctors are doing mission work in other countries… I feel more can be done at home. I hope to bring the latest technological advances in eye surgery to those who are most in need and don’t have the means to pay for it,” stated Dr. Balish. Doctors Mark Fay and Scott Stevens, of Klamath Eye Center, also find their participation in Mission Cataract very fulfilling.