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Kress Vision Program


The Program

The Kress Vision Program was created in 1988 to fill a perceived need in the community. It provides no charge, detection eye/vision screening and care directly to members of the community's underprivileged population. Its goal is to help prevent needless vision impairment or blindness, and to improve vision. The program focuses on those who are both at-risk and in need: elderly people, handicapped, those suffering from chronic diseases, and children who have not had a current eye examination. Program staff works closely with community service agencies, and with local leaders and facilities to identify and reach those most in need of the services.

Our program is named for Virginia (Mrs. Rush H.) Kress, who as Chairman of the Hospital Board back then, was responsible for its establishment. An endowed fund, the Kress Vision Program is operated under the auspices of the New York Downtown Hospital. We began providing free screening to the area's underprivileged individuals via our Mobile Eye Screening Unit. Today, although the screenings remain an integral part of the program, they are by no means our only service. We have expanded naturally into follow-up services, and more extensive educational outreach.

"It is a tradition of our Hospital to 'go where we are needed.' I am pleased that this program will bring to the underprivileged a vital service for the prevention of blindness that they might not otherwise obtain." -- Mrs. Virginia Kress

Who We Serve

In 2002 Kress Vision Program conducted screenings in over 150 locations, including senior centers, homeless shelters, AIDS and disability programs, and housing and community sites. Nearly 8,000 individuals (ranging from preschoolers to elderly persons) were screened, of whom over 4,000 received follow-up or other services. The program also participated in numerous educational and health promotion activities serving hundreds of others. Some of its educational materials are available in English, Chinese and Spanish.

Additional Initiatives

The Kress Vision Program also provides referral or service to eligible HOMEBOUND persons in need who have not had care in over two years and cannot be otherwise examined.

We are also willing to work with you in exploring other services as cooperative community efforts to prevent or reduce visual impairment, or enhance eye health for underprivileged people.

For Group or agency

If you work with underprivileged people in the Manhattan area, we are a resource you should know about. We urge you to give us a call if your group or agency are interested in the screenings or other services offered by the Kress Vision Program. Please contact us at 212-233-8483 to discuss your needs and eligibility.

The Eye/Vision Screening

When you call to arrange an eye/vision screening, we'll evaluate your group's eligibility. Once determined, no individual needs tests are required of the eligible members of your group. Groups generally consist of 30-40 persons at a time.

The Kress Vision Program brings the eye doctor, support staff, and equipment directly to your facility for an on-site screening. You, the sponsor, provide the space, help organize and publicize the event, identify and schedule appropriate candidates, and encourage them to attend the screening. Coordination and assistance with required follow-up is also necessary.

There is no charge or obligation involved with screening. Your assistance and on-site involvement, however, help ensure that those you serve will receive the most expedient care possible.

Our Follow-Up Resources

Screening is the necessary first step, but it only identifies the existence of problems. Key to the effectiveness of our program is the fact that we don't stop at this stage. We go on to assure that those found to have abnormal conditions during the screening process actually receive appropriate follow-up care. This may include further evaluation or treatment, glasses, medication, or surgery. In short, we are prepared to help individuals with any action required to preserve, restore, or improve vision or eye health.

It is important to note that those we assist are free to select their provider of choice when it comes to follow-up care. Of course, the Ophthalmology Department at Downtown Hospital is available as an excellent resource, as appropriate.

In some cases, our program provides financial assistance, such as supplying a needed escort or making arrangements for a more extensive medical examination. In all cases, we help those referred eliminate the obstacles-language barriers, physical difficulties, or lack of funds, transportation, or expertise in dealing with eye/vision problems-that may otherwise prevent them from receiving the additional treatment they need.

Education As Prevention

Another long-term key to success of our program is education. As part of that effort, we participate in health fairs and other promotions, and make educational material available on a variety of eye/vision care subjects. Some of our materials are available in Chinese and Spanish version; if you are in need of pamphlets for non-English speaking groups, please call us at 212-233-8483.

Community Health Talks/Workshops    Chinese Community Partnership for Health    Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP)    Women, Infants, and Childrens Program (WIC)   

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