By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Dr. Harvey G. Clermont has started a program to distribute new nonprescription reading eyeglasses free of charge to anyone of all ages in Shrewsbury who needs them. The glasses were purchased by the Friends of the Shrewsbury Senior Center, Inc. from Restoring Vision, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization.
Since retiring from his surgical practice in 2000, Clermont has volunteered at the senior center by offering seminars, conducting a weekly blood-pressure check, instructing yoga and Pilates, and writing a column about health topics in the monthly newsletter. After receiving an email from Restoring Vision, he attended a Friends meeting and made them aware of the organization.
“The Friends purchased a general supply of reading glasses to give out to anyone in our community who needs them regardless of age,” Clermont explained.
The general supply consists of 500 pairs of eyeglasses at eight strengths. Eyeglasses are being dispensed weekly by Lydia Tursik, R.N. on Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the medical room of the Shrewsbury Senior Center, 98 Maple Ave. Clermont is also expanding the program geographically in Shrewsbury.
“We’re going to branch out and go where the seniors are,” Clermont said. “They may not be able to get to the senior center, but they still need the glasses to read.”
Volunteers will also distribute eyeglasses to people of any age at four other locations: Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Shrewsbury Public Library, 609 Main St.; Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon at Elizabeth Gardens, 11 Elizabeth St.; Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Francis Gardens, Francis Gardens Court; and Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Shrewsbury Towers, 36 N. Quinsigamond Ave.
Clermont is hopeful that the program will be ongoing and perhaps further expand its offerings.
“If we get a good response from the outreach then we could also get sunglasses for the spring and summer,” he noted. “We’d dispense them the same way as the eyeglasses.”
According to the Restoring Vision website, “Lack of access to available, affordable reading glasses is preventing over half a billion people from seeing clearly and living productive lives.”