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Mission Cataract Oregon

We are proud to announce our partnership with EyeHealth Northwest in Mission Cataract Oregon, a new program adopted by the Foundation as part of Mission Cataract USA.  Mission Cataract Oregon is dedicated to help qualified individuals who can't afford cataract surgery receive one free of charge.

This is made possible by the generosity of surgeons and surgery centers who donate everything necessary to ensure a successful cataract surgery.  EyeHealth Northwest will launch its first Mission Catarct Day on April 8, 2011 at the EyeHealth Eastside Surgery Center, Happy Valley where they will restore the sight of at least 15 prequalified individuals.

If you or someone you know is in need of a cataract surgery, please contact kerith.vance@orlions.org to get information on upcoming events and necessary qualifications.


AM Northwest: Mission Cataract Recipient


OLSHF's Mission Cataract featured on KATU's Everyday Heroes

Every Day Heroes


Dr. Martin Balish is helping people who can’t afford cataract surgery to see again through the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation’s Mission Cataract. Please click on the above video link to watch this story.  Original story: http://www.katu.com/news/specialreports/94638919.html#idc-container


The Beaverton Lions Club, the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, and Dr. Martin J. Balish, a board certified ophthalmologist at Oregon Eye Specialists in Portland, are partnering on Thursday, May 13, 2010 for “Mission Cataract Day 2010” to provide six pre-screened and pre-qualified low-income individuals with premier cataract surgeries.

Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery once a year to people of all ages who have no means to pay or do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. The program started in Fresno, California in 1991 by Frederick A. Richburd, MD, Medical Director of Valley Eye Institute and in 1993 spread nationwide as various states joined the program.

Participating Lions Clubs and the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF) help to identify individuals in need of cataract surgeries, and then team with an ophthalmologist to perform the surgery as part of the program.  “The great thing about this is the opportunity for Beaverton Lions to work with a community provider and the Foundation where we all pull our resources together. Working in this partnership, we are much more successful in our endeavor in helping people in need,” states David Rich, project coordinator for the Beaverton Lions Club.  “Through the generous support of Dr. Balish, this project essentially allows us to double our money and thereby double the people we serve.”

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens.  The lens focuses light rays on the retina – the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye – to produce a sharp image of what we see.  When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily, and vision is blurred.”  The National Institute for Science Education (NISE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) report 400,000 new cases of cataracts occur each year in the United States.  However, cataract surgery has dramatically evolved over the last 20 years.   Dr. Balish, who is scheduled to perform the six surgeries, explained they “do outpatient micro surgery with light monitored sedation. The entire process takes 30 minutes or less and the success rate is approximately a 95% uncomplicated, routine surgery.  The clouded lens is replaced and patients can begin noticing a difference that same day, with vision gradually improving over the next several days.”

Dr. Balish, an anesthesiologist, and nurses are donating their time, and the Westside Surgery Center in Tigard is donating the equipment.  Bausch and Lomb has generously donated cutting-edge Crystalens, a product which revolutionized cataract surgery five years ago. 

Dr. Balish states “Crystalens is the world’s first and only FDA approved ‘focusing’ intraocular lens implant.  The Crystalens allows the patient to see near, far, and everything in between with less dependence on glasses."  The retail price for each lens alone is $1195.  This procedure is considered a premium lens implant; private insurance does not cover it.  The total average cost for each surgery is between $4,700–$5,700 – a cost prohibitive amount for the selected individuals whose income falls below 150 percent the Federal Poverty Guidelines. 

Dr. Balish is committed to making a difference in our community when cataracts are preventing the less fortunate from seeing clearly. “So many eye doctors are doing mission work in other countries… I feel more can be done at home.  I hope to be able to bring the latest technological advance in eye surgery to those who are most in need and don’t have the means to pay for it.  My goal is to be a regular participant in this program.” 

If you would like to partner with a local Lions Club and the Foundation as a partnering provider in future Mission Cataract Days, or wish to make a donation toward this effort, please contact OLSHF at (800) 635-4667.



Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation Scores!

The Portland Winterhawks hockey team closed out 2009 in spectacular fashion on New Year’s Eve, shutting out the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 6-0 at the Rose Garden while fans supported the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation. Fans helped raise $2,500 for the Foundation that night and the scoreboard featured public service announcements on our behalf.

Since 1959, the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation has taken an active role in protecting the health of all Oregonians. Through seven direct service programs related to sight, hearing and health assistance, the Foundation has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and adults in Oregon. We offer consistent access and critical health solutions to the most vulnerable members of our community who are uninsured or under insured.

To read the whole press release, click right here.

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