Moran Eye Center Saving Sight for Homeless and Low-Income Utahns During COVID-19

Apr 13, 2020 2:30 PM


A Message from Craig Chaya, MD

The John A. Moran Eye Center continues to provide sight-saving outreach care to Utah’s homeless and low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moran Eye Center volunteer ophthalmologists are using a new triage protocol at the Fourth Street Clinic and the Maliheh Free Clinic in Salt Lake City, the People’s Health Clinic in Park City, and on the Navajo Nation. The protocol ensures patients with sight-threatening conditions can safely be seen in person at the Moran Eye Center on the University of Utah campus.

In one week, Moran doctors triaged 150 people at the 4th Street Clinic alone. Two patients needed urgent care, while others needed eyeglasses that are being made for them. Urgently needed cataract surgeries to restore sight will resume when it is safe to do so.

“Now more than ever, we want people in need who are scared of losing their eyesight or who can’t see simply because they can’t afford a pair of eyeglasses to know that we have not abandoned them. We are continuing to provide safe care and resources thanks to the generous donors who fund our program.” 

Craig Chaya, MD, Global Outreach Division co-medical director

Meeting Growing Needs for Charitable Eye Care in Utah

Project Homeless Connect Salt Lake City 2019

Chaya said he expects the local need for charitable eye care to increase along with challenging economic conditions and job losses due to the pandemic.

“Vision loss is an important issue for the entire community,” explained Chaya. “If people can’t see they can’t work. They are more prone to accidents. They have higher rates of depression. We need to stay on top of urgent eye care needs as we work together to get through COVID-19.”

The Moran Eye Center’s Global Outreach Division has provided hundreds of charitable cataract surgeries for uninsured and low-income Utahns through its annual Operation Sight Day. Volunteer surgeons, nurses, and technicians regularly provide care and surgery for Navajos living on the Utah strip of the Navajo Nation. Regular eye care clinics also assist former refugees now living in Utah.

How to Help

Support Moran’s local outreach work by donating here.

vision outreach patient care