Copyright: ponsulak / 123RF Stock Photo

Here you will find a list of area Eye Clinics to help choose a provider.

Find Local Eye Clinics

Christmas Gift of Sight

Each spring and fall, Northern Plains Eye Foundation and local eye care professionals collaborate in presenting the Christmas Gift of Sight, a charitable program that awards sight-saving surgery to patients, referred by an eye care professional, with severely impaired vision and known financial hardship.

Help Us Give the Gift of Sight! Donate Today!

The patient’s stories are those of individuals who are much like us – until they began to encounter vision problems. They are employed, but due to financial considerations, cannot afford the necessary care. As the struggle with their vision ensues, normal day-to-day activities such as driving or reading become difficult. Their vision problems escalate to the point where they struggle to continue employment. Oftentimes public assistance is denied due to the fact they have an income. But, what income there is goes only so far as to pay bills and very basic living expenses. Treatment is often not within their means, and therefore not a feasible option, and there is not access to insurance. In the most severe cases, family members or friends are relied upon to provide assistance on the most basic levels of care such as transportation, shopping, reading mail, cooking meals, writing checks to pay bills, etc. They feel helpless, without resources, with nowhere to turn. These heart-wrenching stories are all too common. For the grateful Christmas Gift of Sight recipients, there is a happy ending. One is Cathy Mayes.

Christmas Gift of Sight Stories

CATHY MAYES | Christmas Gift of Sight

August 25, 2014

One fall, Cathy Mayes noticed her vision began rapidly changing. “Everything looked like I was looking at a funny mirror at an amusement park.” She learned she had a macular hole in her right eye, making her close to legally blind. Surgery was her only option, and the longer it was put off, the less chance for her to regain her vision. Due to existing medical bills, no insurance and estimated surgery cost of fifteen thousand dollars, Cathy began to face the prospect of going blind. “I don’t give up on life. It’s too valuable,” Cathy stated. However, that Thanksgiving, she insisted her six children, ten grandchildren and five step-grandchildren gather for a family picture. In case something happened, she wanted the chance to see her beautiful family together.

To continue to work, her office was equipped with low vision devices and a large flat screen monitor. She struggled to drive and her pursuit of her bachelor’s degree had to be put on hold, as on-line coursework was not available in large print.

Later, Cathy began noticing halos when she looked at things. “I was really scared something major was wrong,” she said. She’d just learned her son and his fiancé were expecting their first child, and was worried she would never see her new grandbaby.

The diagnosis was cataracts, often a result of eye surgery. She was referred to Dr. Terry Spencer at Black Hills Regional Eye Institute, who performed cataract surgery.

Today, she no longer wears glasses, which she had worn since eight years of age, except for reading.      

“I have never been so touched by anything in my life, and I now plan to utilize this wonderful Christmas Gift of Sight to prove hope exists for others,” Cathy gratefully said. “This gift has reaffirmed my belief in people and the spirit of giving.  With the blessing of my husband and children, we will be looking at those who do not have anything, and hopefully be more caring, understanding and giving for all.”

Read More

Last Modified: 08/31/2015 4:46:16 pm MDT

Christmas Gift of Sight Stories

MARILYN JONES | Christmas Gift of Sight

August 25, 2014

Imagine the following scene. One night you crawl into bed, tired, but satisfied after a full day. All is well in your world. The next morning you wake up and life has changed drastically – you have double vision and are unable to focus. Simple tasks become incredibly difficult or impossible. That is what happened to Marilyn Jones, the first recipient of the Northern Plains Eye Foundation’s Christmas Gift of Sight award.

Read More

Last Modified: 08/31/2015 11:22:29 am MDT

Christmas Gift of Sight Stories

TIM MCCRANEY | Christmas Gift of Sight

August 25, 2014

Tim McCraney’s life was severely altered when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Tim was his father’s sole care giver, and as the disease progressed, Tim made the tough decision to retire from his full-time job in order to care for his father. To continue to make ends meet, Tim took a part-time position that allowed him to bring his father to his job in order to keep him safe.

Read More

Last Modified: 08/31/2015 4:40:42 pm MDT

Christmas Gift of Sight Stories

GINA FINNELL | Christmas Gift of Sight

August 25, 2014

When Gina Finnell went to renew her driver’s license, she didn’t pass her eye exam at the licensing bureau.

After follow-up examinations, Gina learned her vision problems were due to diabetes and high blood pressure. Her condition continued to worsen, leaving Gina legally blind.

Read More

Last Modified: 08/31/2015 4:45:35 pm MDT

Read More Christmas Gift of Sight Stories

Vision For A Lifetime