Free eye exams (and glasses) brought to you by Rotary, Lions and The Salvation Army

Jim Deardorff OD, Rotary; Chris Brashears, Rotary, Salvation Army Advisory Board; Steve Shaw, President Downtown Lions Club; Laura Hernandez, Salvation Army; Hardeep Kataria, optometrist and Lieutenant Fabio Simoes, Salvation Army, Rotary at the eye clinic.

The Ventura Rotary Club, Ventura Downtown Lions Club and the Salvation Army of Ventura have partnered to bring the community a free Eye Clinic. Their goal and vision is to provide free eye glasses for those in need (no questions asked). Any Salvation Army case manager can make a client appointment where the patient will receive an eye exam and a free pair of glasses. Patients are seen each Thursday from 7:30- 9:30 except holidays. Walk-Ins are welcomed as well, just arrive early and ring the bell!

The clinic was finally launched on July 12 many months after it was planned because of the Thomas Fire. Retired optometrist Jim Deardorff donated his equipment and optometrist Hardeep Kataria volunteers her time to give the exams.

Rotarian Chris Brashears stated “I was looking for more to do helping people locally. In our Rotary Club we have three optometrist so it occurred to me that if we had a space we could open up a clinic to provide free eye exams and glasses to those in need. I went to Fabio and asked him to help me find a space. Fabio and Silvia, our Salvation Army Lieutenants have a hard time saying no donated the space.”

“Another Rotarian Indy Batra and I were driving to Vegas for business one day when I told him of my need to find an optometrist. He suggested his daughter in-laws sister Hardeep. She was the missing piece and without her we would not be in business, she donates her time always with a big smile. The Lions Club told me that they wanted to be involved and to just let them know when and where.”

“We have been funded to date by the Ventura Rotary Club and by the Downtown Lions Club. We have enough funds for this year and are looking for a free source to make the lens (our only expense). We have a lot of donated frames.”

“To date we have served approximately 30 patients with free glasses. The enjoyment comes from seeing them with their new glasses and the smile it brings to their face to be able to see clearly again.”

Silvia Benetti Simoes, Lieutenant Ventura Corps Officer stated “It has been a privilege to be part of this great organization where we can provide services that are needed for the community. The eye clinic is a new opportunity to show what the Salvation Army is all about, giving back.”

Lion Steve Shaw went on to say “Lions have long been associated with blindness prevention and sight restoration. The American author and activist Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, personally challenged Lions to “hasten the day when there would be no preventable blindness”. In her 1925 address to the Lions Club Foundation Convention in Cedar Point Ohio she asked Lions to constitute to become “Knights of the Blind” in her crusade against darkness. Since then more then 10 million children have been screened for eye disease and vision problems, 7.6 million have regained their sight through cataract surgery and 400,000 people each year receive recycled eyeglasses because of the Lions.”

Free Eye Exams Salvation Army Eye Clinic
Salvation Army Hope Center, 155 S Oak St, Ventura.
7:30am-9:30am Thursday. or 805-648-4977 for more information.

To donate eye glasses visit for a list of donation sites


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