Mobile eye clinic comes to Clanton

Published 11:50 am Thursday, February 3, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Attendees to Chilton County’s annual Peach Pageant are likely familiar with Alabama Lions Sight from the information shared during one of the contests.

What they may not realize is that Alabama Lions Sight’s mobile eye clinic serves Chilton County residents on a regular basis.

The mobile eye clinic is made possible through donations, grants and funds raised by clubs, including the Clanton Lions Club.

“Our primary purpose is access for people in these rural communities,” Optometrist Dr. Kent Daum, director for the program, said.

He said not everyone has the option of driving out of town to have eye issues looked at.

Cost can also be a hindering factor to getting eye care. To overcome this, the mobile eye clinic provides the comprehensive eye exam for a nominal fee and charges $40 for a complete pair of glasses.

“If somebody walks in and doesn’t have any money, they get the care and the glasses anyhow,” Daum said.

The eye clinic on wheels was at the Chilton County Health Department on Feb. 3 with plans to return on March 7. Those interested in setting up an appointment can contact the Chilton County Health Department at 205-755-1287.

“What I really, really love is just meeting people that I would not otherwise even see and feeling like I have a small part in helping them have more productive lives,” Daum said.

He said many who some to the clinic have needed new glasses for a while and have not been able to replace them or have never had an eye exam.

Some have had major eye issues that could lead to a loss of sight if left untreated.

A desire to provide eye care to those who may not be able to afford it in rural locations led to the establishment of the mobile unit in 2016.

“They’ve done vision screenings for years and years, but this is comprehensive eye exams, so it is really different than what they had done before,” Daum said.

The mobile eye clinic served 1,700 patients last year.

Daum said they come to Clanton “pretty frequently.”

A team of three keep the clinic going — Daum, optometric technologist Leighlee Jackson and practice administrator John Wilkerson.

The facility has the same equipment that patients would see in a traditional optometrist office.

Keeping the mobile eye clinic up and running requires all the things a brick and mortar office would require with the addition of maintenance for the vehicle it is housed in.

Daum said he was “so thankful” for the support of Lions Clubs throughout the state.