• Enriching Quality of Life Through the Gift of Sight

    Betty White’s vison was so severely limited by cataracts that she was unable to participate in her favorite pastimes, such as gardening or playing the piano. Thanks to EyeCare America volunteer Ryan P. Conley, MD, her vision was restored.

    After suffering sun damage when she was 13, Biggs, Okla., resident Betty White’s vision recently became much worse. As her cataracts began to progress, glasses no longer helped. Her quality of life slowly declined, and she was no longer able to garden or play the piano — until her niece discovered EyeCare America®, the Academy's public service program that provides free or low-cost eye care through volunteer ophthalmologists.EyeCare America helps medically underserved older Americans who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years. It’s one of the most successful public service programs in American medicine, having helped nearly two million people nationwide.

    “Every extra penny I have goes to paying bills and just getting by,” Ms. White said. “I had nothing extra to pay for an eye exam, let alone follow-up care.”

    EyeCare America volunteer Ryan P. Conley, MD, of Tulsa, Okla., donated his time to remove Ms. White’s cataracts, restoring her vision and quality of life. She’s now back to playing the piano, gardening and spending time with her family.

    “I still can’t get used to not reaching for my eyeglasses,” Ms. White said. “Thank you, EyeCare America, for caring about people like me.”

    EyeCare America is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of eye exams and providing sight-saving and lifechanging care to underserved communities. More than 5,500 ophthalmologists volunteer to help patients like Ms. White by offering a comprehensive eye exam for eligible seniors — often at no out-of-pocket cost — or a glaucoma exam for those eligible under the glaucoma program.This critical work is supported by the Academy Foundation and has received major funding for more than 20 years from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. 

    Donate your time and change lives in your community

    As a volunteer, you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of these patients with a minimal time commitment and without even leaving your office. Volunteer for EyeCare America today.