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Steve Chaplin
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012

IU Optometry, Saving Sight Indiana begin partnership to improve eye care for state's underserved

Oct. 18, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Optometry and Saving Sight Indiana (formerly Prevent Blindness Indiana) have entered into a collaborative agreement that will allow both organizations to increase the impact they have on underserved patients in Indiana.

Knotts, Marjorie

Indianapolis optometrist Dr. Marjorie Knotts, a former IU School of Optometry faculty member, is among the group of optometrists around Indiana volunteering services with Saving Sight Indiana to improve eye care for Indiana's poor and indigent patients.

Print-Quality Photo

In making the announcement, School of Optometry Dean Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno and Saving Sight Indiana board president Libby Manship said administration of Saving Sight Indiana's programs through the School of Optometry's Community Outreach Clinic would broaden efforts to assist school-age children and low-income families with needed vision care.

"The School of Optometry is committed to sustainable assistance to poor and indigent patients in need of vision correction or treatment of eye disease, which will enable the 'working poor' to gain employment and for poor students to function in school," Bonanno said. "This transfer of Saving Sight's major activities to the school enables us to provide this assistance directly, as well as raise the visibility of our efforts as we strive to obtain further financial resources that can sustain this program in perpetuity."

Saving Sight Indiana provides donated services and eyeglasses to children and adults who meet eligibility criteria based on federal poverty guidelines and lack of insurance to cover vision care.

"The collaboration allows both Saving Sight Indiana and the IU School of Optometry to have a greater impact through our shared commitment to preserving vision and preventing unnecessary vision loss," Manship added. "For Saving Sight Indiana, this is an important way to use our limited resources most effectively to help people of all ages statewide who are struggling with vision issues. School children will have a greater opportunity for success in school and extracurricular activities because their vision has been corrected. Adults who are helped through the program will experience a vastly improved quality of life."

Saving Sight Indiana focuses on two programs, Sight for Students and Gift of Vision. Sight for Students is a voucher program generously provided by VSP, a prominent vision insurance company that enables eligible students to have a comprehensive vision exam and glasses or medically necessary contact lenses at a participating optometry office. The vouchers are valued at up to $250 per student.

Gift of Vision is a program that connects eligible adults in need of a vision exam or other vision care to Saving Sight Indiana's network of more than 120 optometrists, ophthalmologists and vision centers statewide that have agreed to donate their services to patients who qualify for the program.

"The collaboration between Indiana University School of Optometry and Saving Sight Indiana is reducing the financial and procedural barriers that keep uninsured and underinsured Indiana residents from receiving quality vision care," said Dr. Julie Torbit, an associate clinical professor at the Indianapolis Eye Care Center and director of community outreach at IU School of Optometry. "By joining forces, we are providing medically underserved Hoosiers around the state with better access to eye care services."

Eligibility criteria and application forms are available on the Saving Sight Indiana website, or call the Indiana University School of Optometry's Community Outreach clinic at 317-321-1407 to apply.

For more information please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or