Lions Club Donates $10,000 to Jones Eye Institute for Cataract Surgeries

By Benjamin Waldrum

Arkansas Lions Clubs have been longtime supporters of the Jones Eye Institute, including the Arkansas Lions Eye Bank & Laboratory, established in 1986 and housed at UAMS.

“This year, the Arkansas Lions Eye Bank & Lab was able to proudly donate over $10,000 for the Gift of Sight Cataract-a-thon,” said Larry Bauer, president of the Eye Bank’s board of directors. “The Eye Bank became involved to help fill the void for those patients who cannot afford health care or quality eye care services. This important vision care and treatment is saving their sight.”

A cataract causes the lens of an eye to become cloudy, leading to vision issues or blindness. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and usually replaces it with a clear, artificial lens. The surgery typically takes less than 30 minutes but costs thousands of dollars without insurance.

The funds will help cover costs associated with transportation, follow-up care and medications.

“The Lions Clubs of Arkansas have been supporting sight-saving and sight-restoring projects in Arkansas for decades,” said David Warner, M.D., medical director of the Arkansas Lions Eye Bank and professor of ophthalmology in the UAMS College of Medicine. “We are extremely grateful for these funds, which will support cataract surgery at Jones Eye for approximately 30 patients over the next year. This collaboration between the Lions and Jones Eye is life-changing for these individuals and their families, and will be for many others in the future. This partnership continues to flourish and help some of the most vulnerable among us today.”

Warner is also a member of the Lions Founders Club satellite branch at Jones Eye.

Since 2021, the Jones Eye Institute has restored sight to approximately 50 Marshallese and Pacific Islander patients through no-cost cataract surgeries. Surgeries, transportation and food are provided to the patients, thanks to a fund created by generous Eye Institute donors, including the Lions Club.

Northwest Arkansas is home to the largest Marshallese population in the continental United States after many citizens from the Marshall Islands migrated to the U.S., beginning in the 1950s. Their legal migration occurred after the U.S. detonated more than 65 nuclear test bombs that destroyed some of their islands and ecosystems.