Amarillo, TX - Every two years people without insurance are given the chance to qualify for free cataract eye surgery.
Almost 450 people have benefited from this sight-saving procedure over the past 21 years.
It starts with a free screening process...
"We will screen them for cataract, they will have an exam done by one of our doctors and then they will also be financially screened as far as insurance, Medicare, Medicaid," said Candy Carpenter who is the CEO of Panhandle Eye Group.
After the screening, patients are selected by doctors to undergo the procedure.
They must have a cataract to qualify and not have access to either Medicare, Medicaid or Private Insurance.
"These essentially are the working poor, they are people who have severe cataracts, which is a blinding disease, but a curable disease because they have a cataract they can't work and because they can't work they can't get the needed insurance to pay for this site saving surgery," Carpenter said.
The Panhandle Eye Group is one of only 21 companies in the US to have this event with Mission Cataract, and one of only two locations in Texas.
The goal of the program is to help people get back to work.
"If they could just get their vision back, that is to have the cataract removed and have a lens implanted then they could go back to work and be a working citizen," explained Carpenter.
But for those who provide the care, it's more than just providing a free surgery.
"It's our way of being able to give back to a community that has been so good to us, they have blessed us over the years and it's our way of giving back to them," Carpenter said.