Presidential award given to public service program thanks to efforts by local ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologist Robert P. Laborde, who practices eye care in five locations across Buncombe, Henderson, Mitchell, Polk and Yancey counties, volunteers with EyeCare America to restore vision for seniors. Thanks to his and other ophthalmologists’ sight-saving contributions in North Carolina, the national public service program has just received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

 

EyeCare America, a program of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is one of the largest public service programs in American medicine. Over the last 30 years, it has helped more than 1.8 million people obtain access to eye care and medical resources. It does this through a corps of more than 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists around the country who help seniors and the medically underserved.

 

The program was recognized this summer by the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) which his the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition.

 

“Thank you for helping to address the most pressing needs in your community and our country,” wrote President Obama in a letter that accompanied the award. “Your volunteer service demonstrates the kind of commitment to your community that moves America one step closer to its great promise.”

 

“Losing vision can be devastating, but some seniors think it’s inevitable due to their age and suffer in silence rather than seeking help,” said Dr. Laborde. “Today, we are very fortunate to have several treatments to help stop and even restore vision loss for older Americans.  It’s an honor to be part of a national program that helps make it so much easier for seniors to access these treatments, and I’m pleased that my work has helped gain recognition of EyeCare America from the President.”

 

Those interested in the program can see if they qualify for a sight-saving eye exam and care at no out-of-pocket cost by visiting EyeCare America’s online referral center at www.eyecareamerica.org. This online referral center also allows friends and family members to find out if their loved ones are eligible to be matched with an EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologist.

 

Laborde Eye Group treats macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and diseases of the retina. LEG offers retinal surgery, cataract evaluation, cataract surgery, and second opinions in five locations across Buncombe, Henderson, Mitchell, Polk, and Yancey counties. Robert P. Laborde, MD and Stephen J. Capps, MD are Board Certified ophthalmologists and surgeons, performing both retinal surgery and cataract surgery, with full privileges at area hospitals. For more information, visit labordegroup.com or call 828-693-0747.

 

Established in 1985, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education.  EyeCare America provides year-round eye care services to medically underserved seniors and those at a increased risk for eye disease.  More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon and Genentech. More information can be found at eyecareamerica.org.

 

-Submitted by Dayle Kern

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