Giving the gift of sight:
Kentucky Vision Project provides care for 50,000

Charitable donations, applications accepted

For more than 25 years, Kentucky’s doctors of optometry have provided approximately $20 million in free vision care to 50,000 low-income workers through the Kentucky Vision Project.

The Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA) reminds Kentuckians of this important service – as a way to give and receive the gift of eye sight.

“Regular eye exams are an important part of preventive health care,” said Dr. Julie Metzger Aubuchon, a doctor of optometry in Florence and president of the KOA.

“Many eye problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so people often are unaware that problems exist. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for maintaining good vision and eye health, and when possible, preventing vision loss.

“These exams also can serve as the first line of defense in identifying diabetes, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis and other serious medical conditions.”

The Kentucky Vision Project, which is funded solely by private donations, offers free eye exams and glasses to low-income families. Volunteer optometrists receive no compensation for their services or the glasses.

Here’s how it works:

Local offices of the Salvation Army, Community Action Centers and Kentucky Home Place screen each application using the federal poverty guidelines. People can contact one of those agencies in their area, download an application at or call 1-800-320-2406. The application would then be forwarded to an agency in their area.

Approved applicants are assigned to participating doctors in the county where they live. If there is no participating doctor in their county, they are requested to list two alternative counties where they can travel.

Participating doctors donate examinations to determine eye health as well as the need for glasses. If the doctor determines glasses are required, a $25 donation is requested for each family member receiving glasses. The voluntary donation helps offset the cost of the lenses, mailing costs and helps to keep the project ongoing.

“The Kentucky Vision Project allows people to make contributions in the name of another person as a tribute, gift or memorial,” Metzger Aubuchon said. “It’s a wonderful way to both support the project and solve your gift-giving dilemmas.”

No government funds are used in this initiative. To make a donation, please click here.