Frequently Asked Questions

Anchorage Area Lions Joint Sight Committee



Assistance with Vision Problems

Can I get help paying for prescription glasses?

The Anchorage Area Lions Joint Site Committee can assist in some instances. Find more information here. Even if you don’t qualify for assistance from the Anchorage Area Lions Joint Site Committee, there may be other programs to assist you. Be sure to ask your health care provider.

Can I get free reading glasses?

Lions Clubs in the Anchorage area participate in some events or health fairs where reading glasses are offered. Please check our event schedule for the next opportunity.

I can’t afford to get my eyes tested?

Lions Clubs in the Anchorage area offer occasional eye screenings to veterans and the general public. Please check our schedule for our event list and what groups are being served at those events. The Lions always offer vision screening at the annual Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Elementary school children are screened at their schools.

Do the Lions offer vision assistance to Vets?

Yes, the Anchorage Lions participate in annual health fairs offered to military and veterans. Check our schedule for the next event for military and veterans.

Do the Lions offer vision help to the homeless?

Yes, Anchorage Lions participate in health fairs and other events for the homeless and provide vision screenings and also offer free reading glasses. Check our schedule for the next event.

Vision Screening

What is vision screening?

It is a brief eye exam that tests for potential vision problems and eye disorders.

What happens during a vision screening?

Vision screening is something like the vision test when you get your driver’s license. Your glasses will be cleaned and then your eyes will be tested and the results recorded.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for vision screening?

No special preparation is required. If you or your child has been prescribed glasses or contact lenses, please bring them with you to the screening.

Are there any risks to screening?

No, there are no risks to having your eye screened.

What happens if a problem with my eyes is detected at a vision screening?

You will be referred to an eye care specialist for a more thorough eye test and treatment if any problems are detected.

What problems can vision screening find?

The most common problems detected in children are commonly called lazy eye which causes blurry or reduced vision and crossed eyes when the eyes don’t line up properly. These can be treated easily if found early.

These problems that affect both children and adults can also be detected:  Nearsightedness (myopia), a condition that makes far away things look blurry, Farsightedness (hyperopia), a condition that makes close-up things look blurry and Astigmatism, a condition that makes both close-up and far-away things look blurry.

Why should children get vision screened?

If vision problems are not detected and corrected, children’s ability to learn in school and participate in sports activities is handicapped. The earlier an eye problem is diagnosed and treated, the less it will negatively impact your child’s life.

Here’s what one mother said ” I believe my kid would have fallen behind in school, developed low self esteem and lack of desire to attend school, and would continue to miss out on seeing. Thank you. … Without your efforts, we could have continued to miss that he is visually impaired. Your intervention has impacted my son in ways we will not know.”

Is a vision screening the same as a comprehensive eye exam?

No. In many situations as vision screen can alert you to the need for a comprehensive eye exam but it is not a substitute for a eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

What the difference between a vision screening and a comprehensive eye exam?

A vision screening is a short examination conducted by a volunteer that may indicate the presence of a potential vision problem. A vision screening cannot diagnose exactly what is wrong with your eyes. Vision screening can only alert you that you should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist or optometrist for a more comprehensive dilated eye examination.

I can’t afford glasses?

In some circumstances the Lions can assist you.. If you have any type of insurance, that must be tapped first. Lions act as the last resource.

I need my eyes tested in Alaska? Where can I get free eye exams near me?

The Lions Clubs offer free vision screening in Alaska. Read more about vision screening here.

Can I help with vision screenings near Anchorage, Alaska?

Please contact the Anchorage Area Lions Joint Sight Committee and let Esther know you are interested in helping with vision screening.

Used Glasses Recycling

How do I get rid of old eye glasses?

Please donate your old eye glasses to the Lions Club nearest you. When you get new glasses, ask your provider if they can collect your old glasses for the Lions Club. Many other charities collect glasses to give to people in need who can’t afford them as well. There is a list of donation box locations in the Anchorage Bowl here.

Do the Lions still collect glasses?

Yes, Lions collect used eyeglasses. District 49 Lions clean, sort and repair donated eyeglasses. The glasses are then made available to those in need in Alaska and other parts of the world. Learn more about recycling here.

Where can I donate eyeglasses to the Lions Club?

There are donation boxes in many locations in the Anchorage Bowl. See the list of drop off locations.

Can I mail the eyeglasses instead of dropping them off?

Yes, you can mail them to Aurora Borealis Lions Eyeglass Recycling & Vision Center, PO Box 55933, North Pole, Alaska 99705.

What kind of glasses should I donate to the Lions?

Please donate any used prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and reading glasses. You may donate just the lens if you are going to reuse your frames.