Lions clubs throughout Utah are working this week and throughout this summer to raise money for important sight-related charities and activities.
May 8-14 has been designated "Journey for Sight Week" by Gov. Norm Bangerter, and many clubs are soliciting funds through street corner donations. Several clubs are also conducting fund-raising programs, such as auctions and backyard sales.In Ogden, nearly a dozen clubs held a sale of household goods to raise money for the Utah Lions Foundation, which supports the Utah Lions Eye Bank and is currently trying to establish a Utah Lions Eye Research Laboratory at the University of Utah.
Lion Jay Meservy, past president of the Bountiful Lions Club, a former state district governor and a trustee of the Utah Lions Foundation, said the foundation has just purchased, with Lions funds and matching funds from a National Eye Institute grant, a $120,000 electron microscope for the Eye Research Laboratory at the U.
He said Lions are also working to purchase a companion electron scanning microscope to be used in conjunction with the one just purchased.
"Our ultimate goal is to equip and construct a laboratory facility for eye research to enable the university to expand its current projects and add others of long-term significance," Meservy said.
"As an example, one of the projects currently under way, and one that will benefit from the Lions' donations, is an artificial eye involving a miniaturized video camera and an array of electrodes implanted on the cortex of the brain that will ultimately allow vision in those who have no sight."
He said experiments at the university have shown that it is just a matter of time and availability of appropriate equipment and facilities before the artificial eye is a reality.
"A number of other significant research projects are currently being conducted at the university which will be aided by equipment and facilities donated by the Lions.
"The Utah Lions Eye Bank, which has been supported by Utah Lions for more than 15 years, is a fully accredited facility. This year, we expect the Lions Eye Bank to process approximately 500 human eyes for use in transplants and for research purposes," Meservy said.