Dr. Troy Ford of Payson Eye Care is one of more than 100 optometrists around the state who will be giving free eye exams during Save Your Vision Week March 5-11.
The national program was developed in 1985 in Kentucky by Vision USA to bring basic eye care to the underprivileged. It quickly spread to other states and became a national program in 1991.
Arizona optometrists have participated in the program for the past 10 years through the efforts of the Arizona Optometric Association and the Salvation Army, who will provide screenings for the referrals.
Monte Perkins, a records clerk at the Gila County Sheriff's Department and a Salvation Army committee member, said she will be interviewing those who qualify and will give referrals for a doctor's appointment. The appointments must be made through Payson Eye Care.
Perkins said a single person qualifies if he or she has a monthly income of $1,031 or less. A two-person household can earn up to $1,383; a household of three persons can make up to $1,736 and households of four and five people can make $2,088 and $2,441 respectively. Households with larger families need to make no more than $352 per person additionally in order to qualify.
Perkins said the qualifying incomes are 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
Perkins is now interviewing people who qualify for the free eye exams at the Gila County Sheriff's Office at 108 W. Main Street.
After determining that an applicant is qualified, Perkins provides a referral slip.
In most cases, people are asked to give a $20 co-pay to purchase glasses, but no one who needs glasses and whose income qualifies, will be turned down, Perkins said.
For information, contact Perkins at the Gila County Sheriff's Department at 474-2208 during regular business hours.
Or visit the Vision USA Web site at www.aoanet.org. Click on "Meet the AOA" and look for the Vision USA icon.
For further information, dial their toll-free number at (800) 766-4466 during regular business hours Monday through Friday.