Christine Turner of Bridgeton was grocery shopping with her three children Wednesday afternoon when she saw the North Carolina Lions Foundation free eye-screening bus in the parking lot of Merci Clinic.
Turner works in a sandwich shop and doesn’t have insurance. Her husband, Christopher, recently started a new job at a retail store and isn’t covered either.
Turner, 29, knows she has eye problems. She wore a patch for a year when she was a 16-year-old and had glasses until she was 21 and couldn’t afford them anymore. She had trouble passing the eye exam the last time she had her driver’s license renewed.
She spent more than a half hour in the Lions’ bus, where club members conduct basic screenings on participants.
She emerged glad she had stopped in. “I definitely need to see an eye doctor,” she said. “They (Lions) said they might can help.”
“We will help her,” said Lion volunteer Bobbi Fisher. “Having an eye exam should be one of the most important medical priorities. If people will get an exam, the Lions can help. Lions have been doing that since 1917.”
Fisher said Turner and other referrals must go through a short follow-up interview to see if they qualify for any state medical assistance. If not, then the Lions step in, and provide a free referral through doctors Shawn Doty and Jay Singleton, and optician Phil White. Fisher said the Lions hope to get even more area eye professionals to help their program.
The Wednesday stop in New Bern provided 83 free screenings.