Dr. Howard Freedman, a retired pediatric ophthalmologist, recently addressed the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club. Dr. Freedman started his career in Redman, Washington. He was seeing a many of children with “lazy eye.” If detected and treated early their vision could be restored to almost normal, but if not treated they would see a deterioration in the vision in the one eye which could not be treated when they were older. He started using a modified Polaroid camera to screen children and for early detection. He worked with several companies to try to develop a better camera and had success when a CEO of one of the companies had a son who had “lazy eye“. He spent 15 years helping to develop cameras for screening vision issues in children.
Forty-two years ago Dr. Freeman joined the Lions because of their work on trying to prevent blindness. Upon retirement he moved to Naples, where he is now president of the Naples Lions Club. He started working with the Florida Lions Eye Clinic in Bonita Springs. During the time that he has been with the Eye Clinic it has grown from providing services to about 100 patients to almost 2,000 patients per month. The Lions Eye Clinic provides free examinations, eye treatments, surgery, and eyeglasses to clients. The Clinic serves people who are uninsured and have an income less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Approximately 20 percent of their clients are children, but they will serve anyone who qualifies. They have an inventory of glasses that they can provide for free and have arrangements with Lens Crafters and Walmart to provide inexpensive glasses to those who qualify. Anyone interested in either finding out more about the Florida Lions Eye Clinic, or interested in donating, can contact the Clinic at 239-498-3937 or visit their web site at www.fllec.org.
The Sanibel Captiva Lions Club has been serving the Sanibel and Captiva Communities for over 50 years. While the Lions Club is most known for their effort to eliminate preventable blindness, the club serves citizens of the Islands and greater Southwest Florida in a variety of ways. The local club is part of Lions Club International, the largest service organization in the world with over 1.4 million members in chapters in over 200 countries.
Sanibel Captiva Lions Club holds regular dinner meetings on the first and third Wednesday of the month during the year. However, during the Covid 19 pandemic the meetings have been done via zoom. Visiting Lions or other interested people are welcome to attend. For more information on the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club contact Membership Chair Lion Steven Schulz at PO Box 391, Sanibel, FL 33957, or 239-233-6261, or visit our website at www.sanibelcaptivalionsclub.org.