Since 1949 the Oregon State Elks Association has supported a statewide program for visually impaired children. It is conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and by the State School for the Blind in Salem. The cooperative program was developed to meet important community needs beyond the scope of the state supported institutions.
A total of over $1,000,000 has been contributed by the Oregon State Elks Association, individual Lodges and members for the support of special facilities, personnel, and equipment for the study and treatment of eye diseases in children. Annual Elks support continues the tradition of excellence of the eye care of afflicted children, the development of new diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques and the training of medical students, doctors, nurses, and ancillary personnel so that they may provide better medical services in every community in the State of Oregon.
A recent phase of the program has been the development of public awareness for the prevention of eye injuries leading to a loss of eyesight in the young. The Elks eye injuries prevention poster contest is now a yearly event in most school districts in the State.
The Elks work very closely with the University Hospital through the OSEA Vision Committee. The OSEA Committee serves many functions requiring generous contribution of time, effort, and personal expense. In addition to being responsible for policies and administration of funds for the program, the committee works untiringly to provide information about the program to Elks members and to the public. In each Lodge throughout the State a liaison officer cooperates with the Vision Committee to bring the needs of the program before the Lodge members.
Children from newborn to 19 years of age may be seen as a patient at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic. Many patients are referred because of advanced diagnostic facilities; and many are self-directed or referred by private and public agencies.
Any child is eligible for treatment. Referral forms for the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic are available at the Lodge office.