Church providing free eyeglasses to homeless told it is breaking the law

Church providing free eyeglasses to homeless told it is breaking the law
Halland Kendall (Image: WAVE screen grab)

More evidence that no good deed goes unpunished. Louisville, Ky. station WAVE has the story:

For nearly 30 years, a Louisville man said he has provided prescription glasses to people who are homeless and who live in under-served communities.

Now he said he has to stop providing that service in Kentucky because of what his ministry is lacking.

The article goes on to explain that a local licensed optometrist named Mark Stovall has blown the whistle on Halland Kendall because he lacks a license. Kendall’s has emphasized that if he fits out a needy community member with glasses that are within 90% of his prescription, the person will be able to see.

But Stovall argues that the last 10% of the way is important. “There’s a fine art of prescriptions,” he is quoted as saying. “If it’s not done by a licensed optometrist, what’s going to happen down the road? If there is a problem, who’s going to help these patients?”

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It’s a valid question except that it misses the point that Kendall’s Optometry Ministry has provided more than 700,000 glasses to people in 79 countries and that without his generosity and caring, these people might see nothing at all.

Kendall submits, moreover, that he does have a process whereby he is able to match prescriptions to a patient’s needs. “It’s a little device the size of a video camera called retro max,” he is quoted as saying. “We measure a person’s eyes with that unit and in less than a minute we have that person’s prescription.”

Kendall said people are then fitted and checked against an eye chart for 20/20 or 20/30 vision. Kendall said he’s taken “optometry” out of the title of his free clinics and is interested in making changes that allow him to keep helping people in Kentucky. For now, the sorted glasses are being shipped out of the country.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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