Ocean City Lions Club

Eyeglasses & Vision Programs

Pictured L-R: Lions Bill Kahler, Bill Burke, and Jim Simon, Chairmen of the OCLC Eyeglasses and Vision programs

The Lions Club has a long history of supporting programs to improve vision and eradicate blindness. It all began in 1925 at the Lions International Convention in Cedar Point, Iowa. In her keynote speech, Helen Keller challenged the Lions to "constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness".  Since that day almost a century ago, Lions the world over have fully embraced that challenge. Among their many accomplishments, Lions have collected millions of eyeglasses to send to those in need in developing nations, assisted people in the community to purchase new eyeglasses, provided vision screening to countless schoolchildren, and have almost eliminated River Blindness - which is responsible for over one third of all blindness in third world countries.

Locally, the Ocean City Lions Club has accepted the challenge of improving vision through three programs:

·     New eyeglasses for people in our community

·     Recycling eyeglasses to assist people in developing countries

·     Vision screening for local schoolchildren


New Eyeglasses:

The Ocean City Lions Club has been providing eye exams and new eyeglasses to those who cannot afford them free of charge, or for a very low copay depending on one's circumstances.  Requests are mostly funneled through the Health Department, Social Services or Diakonia, but individuals who feel they need this service may approach any member of our club and they'll be referred to the proper person.

We provide an average of two pairs of glasses each month, or around 25 per year.  They are referred to O.C. Eye Care or Accurate Optical depending on what is convenient for the applicant.  We ask for a small copay based on applicant's income.  It is usually between $5 and $25. If the person has no income or very little, then there's no copay. For more information, or to contribute, contact program chair Lion Bill Burke at or the Club at


Recycled Eyeglasses:

Lions Clubs collect millions of eyeglasses each year to be distributed to people in developing countries. For children, clear vision means a better education and quality of life. For adults, glasses provide greater employment opportunities and economic strength, and for seniors, they provide a lessened dependence on others.

Our club currently has five “drop off” boxes available to the public. They are located at the Community Center in Ocean Pines, the Bank of Ocean City on Route 50, Taylor Bank at 20th Street, the Ocean City Public Library, and the Montego Bay Shopping Center in North Ocean City. Prescription, reading glasses, sunglasses with plastic and metal frames are all acceptable.

Each month, all eyeglasses are collected, sorted, individually wrapped, boxed and delivered to the Lions Den. From there, they are collected from across the bay and examined, cleaned, graded for final delivery to those in need in third world countries.

Our Club collected and packaged approximately 1570 donated eyeglasses in 2012, and increased that total to around 2600 in 2013. For more information, or to contribute, contact program chair Lion Jim Simon at .


Vision Screening:

The Ocean City Lions Club, as a part of its vision programs to preserve and protect sight, offers a program called the Preschool Vision Screening Program to parents and schools in the community.  The program, which is provided free to the community, targets children between 1 and 5 years of age, to detect a vision disorder known as Amblyopia, a medical term for "lazy eye".  Amblyopia affects between 3% and 5% of children, which if detected early can be successfully treated.

The screenings, which are conducted by trained Lion Club volunteers using a sophisticated digital device, are fast and painless and the results are made available immediately.  Should a vision problem be detected, the child's parents are requested to seek a complete eye care exam by an eye care professional. The screenings are regularly scheduled at local schools, and occasionally at other locations and events.  They are offered free of charge by the Ocean City Lions Club to children in the community.

Our vision screening program was created in 2004, with the first screening held in 2005. Since we began we have screened over 1100 children, with about 75 having vision issues detected. Lion Bill Burke and Lion Mike Hooper are the current program chairs. For more information, or to contribute, contact us at



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