Board of Directors Advisory Board Staff

Introducing InFOCUS

InFOCUS (Interprofessional Fostering of Ophthalmic Care for Underserved Sectors) began in 1987 as an outreach project of the University of Houston College Optometry. The project produced the FOCOMETER™ an affordable refracting device appropriate to areas without access to professional personnel, electricity or costly equipment. This device became the centerpiece of a unique program designed to help medically underserved communities achieve self- reliance for basic vision care. (Click here for Focometer Sheet in Spanish). In 1995 InFOCUS was chartered as a non-profit 501c3 organization with a mission to provide eye care to all populations, beginning with those most in need and hardest to serve due to poverty or geographic remoteness. Its strategy is to train local service providers to provide primary eye care. Its goals are to improve vision, prevent blindness and promote health.

InFOCUS has teamed up with CVO-Inc. (Custom Vision Optical) and Eye Deal Eyewear, Inc. to provide affordable eyeglasses to programs serving the poor. InFOCUS provides training, appropriate equipment and low- cost eyeglasses to rural health centers, community ministries, service clubs, mission teams and non-profit agencies so that these program partners can offer eye care, including affordable eyeglasses, to the people they serve.

THE VISION STATION PROJECT: A Community-Based Response to Unmet Needs

To meet the needs of underserved communities, InFOCUS developed a user-friendly path to vision care, the Vision Station. InFOCUS offers "Introduction to Primary Eye Care" workshops and step-by-step guidelines to prepare community-based service providers to assess vision, provide eye health education, refer patients to eye doctors and—if eyeglasses are prescribed— dispense glasses from a small, on-site dispensary.

Vision Stations can be set up in a church, community center, clinic, school, youth program or any place where low-income families come for activities, assistance and services.

InFOCUS offers an appealing children’s book, I Can See, to help children and their parents learn how to take care of their eyes, prevent avoidable blindness and promote eye health. This book and other health educational materials are included in the start up kit for each vision station.

Why is InFOCUS Needed?

As many as 900 million children and adults in the world today are visually impaired due to refractive errors that could be corrected by prescription eye glasses. The World Health Organization estimates that 75% of the world’s blindness could be prevented or treated. Toward that goal, InFOCUS helps large, medically isolated populations acquire basic vision services and the capacity to link patients to professional care.