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Shelter hosts truly visionary reach-out event

Madeline Wilswears her new glasses as she stands with Dr. LisWilson. | Supplied photo

Madeline Wilson wears her new glasses as she stands with Dr. Lisa Wilson. | Supplied photo

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Updated: September 18, 2014 6:45AM



The South Suburban Family Shelter, Prevent Blindness and VSP Vision Care provided free eye exams and eyeglasses to women and their children Wednesday morning at the shelter’s office in Homewood.

The exams took place at a VSP Mobile Eyes clinic named “Celia,” one of three used across the country.

The mobile clinic has state-of-the-art exam rooms and a dispensary that features brand-name frames.

South Suburban Family Shelter provides help to victims of domestic violence, and Chicago-based Prevent Blindness is the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization.

Vicki Meilach, the community outreach coordinator at South Suburban Family Shelter, is out to close the gap in women’s health care.

“We were approached by Prevent Blindness and VSP for a special project they had,” Meilach said. “We were thrilled to be invited and contacted to have this program on site.”

Meilach said that not only were the women who use the shelter’s services invited, the shelter also invited the community at large.

According to Meilach, about 50 people took part in receiving the free services.

“There were many more people who were eligible and in need of this service than I imagined. So we were happy to be the place to host the event,” she said.

The deterioration of women’s vision happens at a higher rate than their male counterparts. According to a study done by Prevent Blindness, only 9 percent of American women realize that they are at greater risk of permanent vision loss than men.

Rhonda Wilson, a market manager for VSP Vision Care, believes the mission of the event is clear.

“One of our missions is to help people who do not have insurance,” Wilson said. “We go to their location and partner up with a local organization to provide free exams.”

She also believes the event is much more than a community service.

“My mission is to help people in any way I can,” Wilson said. “This is a great opportunity to help people around the country. That’s why we’re here today.”

For information, contact the South Suburban Family Shelter at (708)-794-2140, Ext. 303.



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