Old Eyeglasses Changing Lives

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It’s something many of us take for granted. 

“To see what the world is like. Good vision,” Judy Radermacher said. 

Judy Radermacher recently underwent what she says was a very successful cataract surgery to correct her vision. 

“Introduced me to the brightness of the world again, and I have excess glasses through the years that accumulated. I heard about the wonderful program that the eye doctors do,” Radermacher said.  

Radermacher is donating her extra glasses to an organization called VOSH.

“Which stands for Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, and they have student chapters and also state chapters,” Avera Health’s Gregory Hill said. 

The donations are collected across the U.S. and then sent to third world countries, and given to those without access to eye care. 

“Of all the people who have cataract surgery nowadays and other types of eye surgery corrections, there’s a whole gamut of glasses that are sitting around doing nothing,” Radermacher said. 

Every year about 60,000 eyeglasses are donated from South Dakota alone.

And while the number of donations is big, Hill says the need is huge.

“2 to 500 people in a day. So, clinics that I’ve been on it’s been 1,000 people that we’ve seen over the course of three to five days,” Hill said. 

The clinic begins with a health screening for eye disease and then a prescription is determined. 

“All it takes is the correct lens power and all of a sudden their world changes right then and there. There will be smiles, and there will be tears and there will be hugs,” Hill said. 

But it’s not just those receiving glasses whose lives are changed. 

“It’s indescribable. It’s one of those things that changes you because you gain a whole different perspective as to what you have, and what other people have,” Hill said. 

If you would like to donate, Hill says collection boxes are set up at nearly all vision clinics. 





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