New vision clinic now seeing patients in Georgetown County

Coward Family Vision Center

More than 17,000 people in Georgetown County don't have health insurance and in an effort to help some of them, the Smith Medical Clinic has opened a vision center and is providing free care for those who are uninsured.

Although the vision center has only been open for a week, the Smith Medical Clinic has been offering low cost medical care for people in the community for 28 years

Part-time volunteer nurse Mary Clay says the Coward Family Vision Center has already provided 14 uninsured patients a chance to have their eyes checked for free.

"These are for people that are working but cannot afford any insurance or people who have lost their jobs," she explained, "people who have been put on part time that lost their insurance or people who have never been able to afford insurance."

In Georgetown County, the need for this kind of clinic is there with nearly one in three without insurance, including one 30-thirty-year old diabetic man who walked through these doors in the past few days.

"He has severe cataracts in both eyes so we were so fortunate to find that and he is going to be referred to an ophthalmologist and he will get his cataracts removed and fixed for free."

Clay said without the free clinic, he would have gone blind. "His wife was crying because she said my husband is going to be able to see and we can't afford this. Thank you so much."

The vision clinic is supported by private donors. Clay says their goal is to see 25 patients twice a month. During the free vision clinics, they have one doctor, two nurses as well as receptionists who are all volunteering their time. Clay added that giving back to her community means so much.

"When they leave you with a smile on their face and they give you a hug and say thank you for everything you do, you really get emotional."

The Coward Family Vision Clinic also provides glasses at a very low cost to patients and for those who can't afford them, they are free too.

The center will have its official opening in September.

To help just go to their website.