Bahamians blessed by free eye tests

written by Natalie Stone

Grand Bahama resident Donna Rolle was at home watching television when she heard that Logos Hope was hosting a free eye clinic at the island’s YMCA.

“I’ve been having an issue with one of my eyes and I haven’t had a job for a while, so I said, ‘You know what, this is a good time I can come and maybe I could get some help or something,’ so that’s how I got here,” she said. 

Donna was among dozens of Bahamians who received much-needed eye examinations – for both long-distance and reading – from Logos Hope volunteers where glasses were given free of charge to anyone who needed them.

Available to answer questions from residents was Dr Marc Lopez, a local ophthalmologist who understands how difficult it can be for patients to get a check-up with one of the few eye doctors on the island. 

“A lot of residents here in Grand Bahama need glasses, and even having glasses made here is quite difficult for them. It’s quite expensive as well. So having Logos Hope handing out glasses is such a big help and the residents here really appreciate it,” said Dr Lopez.

Optical services are limited to those living in Grand Bahama – which is still recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and has seen a decline in tourists amid the COVID-19 pandemic – making it tough to set an appointment and get glasses. 

According to Dr Lopez, “There’s no public optician here in Freeport, and whenever Bahamians have to have their glasses made, I believe that the optical shops have to send to the [United] States to have them made.” He explained that the process can take weeks and the cost can be prohibitive. 

“This service is so important. I know I speak for a lot of other people, especially during the pandemic and with all the other things that have happened here in Freeport,” said Donna. “People need help, they need services. And it seems like if you don’t have money, you’re not going to get it.

“So that’s why I’m so grateful and I was so happy when I heard you were coming,” she told the ship’s volunteers.

Among the adults and children who underwent an eye exam was a young boy, who gasped with delight when he was finally able to see clearly during his long-distance test.