New Eyes for the Needy – Free Prescription Glasses

February 4, 2013

Eye glasses and Snellen chart

Back in November, we announced that we partnered with Vision USA to help eligible individuals apply for ophthamology check-ups at no cost to Brooklyn residents.

We are pleased to announce that, along with Vision USA, we have also partnered with New Eyes for the Needy to help low-income community members without health insurance obtain free professional eye examinations and free prescription glasses.

In collaboration with Vision USA and New Eyes for the Needy, our Vision Assistance Program makes receiving free eye healthcare possible for those in need. We are the only organization authorized to offer Vision USA services in Brooklyn.

How does this program work? During our monthly in-house screenings, clinical volunteers will continue to offer the routine Snellen eye checks but if they find that the community member needs prescription glasses, they will assist them in applying forprofessional follow-up through Vision USA, where they can obtain a free basic eye exam and lenses prescription. Both programs require community members to fulfill certain qualifications, including income levels and health insurance status. Immigrants who are unable to participate in the Vision USA program may qualify alternatively for the New Eyes program, given that they obtain a prescription from a local optometrist, which often costs $20-$30. We have been able to help community members who are unemployed and uninsured obtain glasses for free or for a low price, when they were deterred from ophthalmologists that they had visited from obtaining glasses because of the cost.

To apply for these free ophthalmology services, a community member must work with a charitable organization (such as AMPHS), a social worker, case worker, or a community health agency to submit an application.

Any one in need of free eye care services can visit our headquarters office in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and be screened. Right now, we are only taking applications during our monthly in-house screenings, and other special events, where indicated.

Our office is located at:

5306 Third Avenue (at 53rd Street)

2nd floor

Brooklyn, NY 11220

We encourage everyone to check our National Event Calendar for dates for our monthly in-house screenings and other special health events and screenings.

About New Eyes for the Needy

New Eyes for the Needy was established in 1932 and works globally to improve the vision of poor children and adults who do not have health care support. In doing so, they: 

  • Purchase new eyeglasses in the United States, and
  • Recycle donated glasses for distribution in developing nations worldwide

New Eyes works collaboratively with social service agencies, optical dispensers and vision missions, improving the lives of over 7,500,000 people in the US and 87 countries around the world since its founding. Social service agencies first screen the community member for income eligibility and assist them in filing out a form to send in to New Eyes along with a recent vision prescription. Should they be approved, New Eyes will send a voucher to the agency within 4 weeks, which the agency will remit to the community member.

Both programs require community members to fulfill certain qualifications, including income levels and health insurance status. Immigrants who are unable to participate in the Vision USA program may qualify alternatively for the New Eyes program, given that they obtain an prescription from a local optometrist, which often costs $20-$30. We have been able to help community members who are unemployed and uninsured obtain glasses for free or for a low price, when they were deterred from opthamologists that they had visited from obtaining glasses because of the cost.

About Vision USA

Vision USA was established in 1991 to provide basic eye examinations to Americans in need, and is currently available in 39 states and the District of Columbia. American Optometric Association (AOA) works primarily with member social agencies and optometrists to connect low-income community members with no health care access to the basic vision care they need. Social agencies will assess community members’ eligibility for the Vision USA program and thereafter, assist them in filing out the appropriate paperwork to apply for assistance. AOA will then make a referral for the community member to visit a local member optometrist, who donates their services at no cost.

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