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State Tells Charity to Stop Matching the Poor With Glasses

Licensed optometrist needs to be involved, Kentucky says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2019 2:23 PM CDT
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Kendall Optometry Ministry says it has given glasses to thousands of people.   (Getty/lenalir)

(Newser) – A state board in Kentucky has told Kendall Optometry Ministry that it has to stop giving used prescription glasses to the poor that aren't precise prescriptions. Holland Kendall has been matching poor people with eyeglasses for 16 years, per Fox News, and says his program has helped thousands of people in 79 countries. The Kentucky Board of Optometric Examiners now has told him the practice needs to stop because the glasses he dispenses "are not new, first quality and made to meet the individual's personal prescriptions." The program could hurt people who should be seen by a licensed optometrist, the board said. Kendall says that the outcome, most of the time, is that the people he helps are "able to vastly improve their vision," though the lenses aren't an exact match to their needs.

Kendall says everyone he helps at his free clinics has their eyes measured, and software he developed then provides a list of used glasses that match the person to a prescription. The ministry's website says it "provides equipment, supplies, computer software, training classes, and training literature." Kendall says he had the help of a licensed optometrist at one time who left when the state threatened to take away the optometrist's license. Wearing eyeglasses with the wrong prescription doesn't harm eyes, per the Mayo Clinic, because prescription lenses change the light waves received by the eye—they don't change the eye itself. Blurriness could bother the wearer, or an incorrect prescription could cause a headache. (Read more eyeglasses stories.)

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