Lions Vision Services in Columbia, South Carolina focuses on providing access to vision-related health care across the state for individuals experiencing poverty. Vision health is rarely considered an essential service within the modern medical system; however, sight is clearly essential to our health, quality of life, safety, and overall well-being. According to Daniel Prohaska, Lions Vision Services President and CEO, the number of blind and visually impaired individuals is expected to double by 2030, mostly affecting the most vulnerable populations within South Carolina. He stated, “The need for these services is greater than it’s ever been at any time in our more than 50-year history.”  

The CCME Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to fund the Envision South Carolina program, which provides eye surgeries, eye exams, eyewear, and vision technology for those within the state who have no other means of receiving these critical services. The program vastly improves the health and welfare of South Carolinians by providing basic access to vision services, affecting so many areas of their lives, such as working, driving, living independently, and participating within their own communities. Recently, clients of the program have indicated an 81% increase in their quality of life due to the vision services received, which validates the high value impact and improved outcomes among low-income residents. Because of some of the geographical limitations of funders, the CCME Foundation’s grant provided for many of the more rural populations across South Carolina to be served, as this funding is very limited. The program also helps decrease the common inequities found within vulnerable populations and in communities of color. According to Lions Vision Services, 66% of clients identify as BIPOC.  

Robert, a Lions Vision Services beneficiary, received life-altering cataract surgery on his eyes. His left eye, which was 90% obstructed, and his right eye, which was 30% obstructed, made his ability to work and provide for his family extremely challenging following many years working as a stagehand. “Now the eye that I was 90% blind in, I was able to read the 20/20 line on the eye test. If it weren’t for the grant that Lions Vision Services got, I wouldn’t be seeing right now,” Robert shared. Another beneficiary, Murray, had become completely blind due to his quickly progressing cataracts, which affected his life in every way. He became totally dependent on family members to care for him, and lost his livelihood as a carpenter, becoming confined to his home. Because of the CCME Foundation’s grant funding, Murray was able to receive surgery for both his eyes and is back seeking employment, excited about working with his hands again, and is living independently. Murray reports, “Lions Vision Services didn’t just give me my sight back; they gave me my life back.”  

With the increased need for vision services only becoming greater, Lions Vision Services has been attempting to leverage its own growth to engage more partners in helping with these needs within the community. Mr. Prohaska added, “Support from the CCME Foundation came at a critical time… a time of historic growth for our organization helping to impact so many communities across the state of South Carolina.” 

To learn more about the work the Lions Vision Services in South Carolina, please visit