A donation of equipment by the James City Lions Club means more people in the greater Williamsburg area will have access to eye exams and other vital procedures used to gauge ocular health.
The eye clinic, which opened Wednesday, is housed in the Old Towne Medical and Dental Center and will be open one half-day a month to start.
If and when the demand for services increases, the center will adjust hours as needed.
The clinic is run by Lions Club volunteers who try to meet humanitarian needs in their communities. There are more than 1 million people in Lions Clubs throughout the world.
“The Lions core mission is vision, so it seemed to follow that the clinic should be an eye clinic,” said club member Don Butts in a news release. “Our club supports Olde Town Medical and Dental Center, so that was a logical place to establish an eye clinic.”
When Olde Towne started in 1993, it was a place uninsured women could get prenatal care. Over the years, it has transformed into a full-service facility that charges patients on a sliding scale according to their income and does not turn away those who cannot pay.
In a January city council meeting, Olde Towne executive director Bill Mann estimated the center could handle up to 3,000 more patients a year.
He added that Olde Towne plans to add a pharmacy and seek more volunteers as well.
Previously, staff had to refer those seeking eye exams and care to local practices.
Staff expect the new equipment to cut down on wait times and on the no-show rate in the area — since many patients don’t have their own transportation, they often miss appointments.
Olde Towne Medical Center
Address: 5249 Olde Towne Road
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday.
Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.