Success stories celebrate foundation's work

April 1, 2005

Frustrated with not being able to see well enough even to gauge how much salt and pepper she was pouring into her cooking, Sarah Polsfuss of Alabama went to a drawer in search of an old article she hoped she had saved.

Frustrated with not being able to see well enough even to gauge how much salt and pepper she was pouring into her cooking, Sarah Polsfuss of Alabama went to a drawer in search of an old article she hoped she had saved.

EyeCare America is one of four programs under the foundation, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new advertising, a new Web site ( http://www.faao.org/), and a black-tie fundraising event, The Orbital Gala. The gala will include dinner and entertainment and will take place October 16 at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago during the academy's annual meeting.

A success story Polsfuss found the article and made a phone call that put her on the road to recovering vision that she now says is the best she ever had.

Why didn't Polsfuss act as soon as she saw the article? "I thought it sounded too good to be true," she said.

With cataracts diagnosed in both eyes 13 years ago, Polsfuss, 67, did not have the money or insurance for the surgery she needed and eventually went blind in her right eye.

Under normal circumstances Polsfuss doesn't like to ask for help, but this time she knew it was worth asking. Within a couple of weeks of her call, she found out that her case qualified and the paperwork was done. EyeCare America referred Polsfuss to the Alabama Eye and Cataract Center at HealthSouth.

She had surgery to remove her cataracts, with no out-of-pocket costs. In all, Polsfuss had 1 year of free medical eye care, except what little Medicare she had that was used toward her medical bills.

"My surgery was longer than other people's, because the cataract had been in there so long and it was so thick," she said.

Polsfuss recently went back for a 6-month checkup. Everything looked good.

"I can see so good now that I have to pinch myself to know it is true," she said.