What started as a plea to the Lions Club International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, by Helen Keller became a mission of the Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since that call to action, the Lions remain committed to assisting the blind and visually impaired and to help prevent blindness through vision care, rehabilitation, and research. Their partnership with the WVU Eye Institute continues to this day and greatly benefits the lives of those both are committed to serving.

In the beginning years, West Virginia Lions raised funds to pay for transportation and hospital cost for eye surgeries performed on children from the West Virginia School for the Blind in Romney. From these beginnings, the West Virginia Lions Sight Conservation Foundation (WVLSCF) was chartered in 1959. The purpose of the foundation was then and remains dedicated to meeting the sight and hearing needs of the citizens of West Virginia.

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WV Lions volunteer during an Appalachian Vision Outreach Program screening clinic

The WVLSCF began their relationship with WVU in 1961 with a donation of $2400 to the WVU Medical School to equip one room of the four-room eye clinic. That led the way to collaboration between the WV Lions and what was then WVU Eye Center to fund the construction of the WV Lions Clinical Eye Research Unit.

Thanks to the continuing partnership with WVSLCF and state Lions Clubs, WVU Eye Institute carries on the crusade of the "Knights of Blindness" by providing vision screenings, general clinics, sub-specialty clinics, and education on the importance of vision health to those who do not have access to regular vision care due to economic or other barriers.

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WV Lions members tour the WVU Eye Institute Vision Research Center


To learn more about West Virginia Lions and the West Virginia Lions Sight Conservation Foundation, Inc. visit their website by clicking here.