The Diabetic Eye Clinic of Alabama is a ministry which provides diabetic eye treatment and education to all uninsured and underinsured people afflicted with diabetes serving all ages, races, and genders. Our clinic seeks to assist all underserved diabetic patients that have inadequate resources to afford health insurance or that are ineligible for government assistance, as these people may be unable to seek medical attention or treatment and are therefore at a high risk of blindness. Often, people afflicted with diabetes do not understand or fail to recognize the reality that many are at high risk of going permanently blind, often suddenly and without warning.
Lauren Mason, Founder and Director, has performed medical mission work assisting patients suffering from the epidemic of diabetes in West Alabama and around the world, including rural Kenya and Nicaragua. Through her clinical research focusing on diabetic eye disease, as well as time spent working alongside these patients, she noted the increasing prevalence of diabetes, as well as the increasing numbers of patients going blind from untreated diabetic eye disease. After having done extensive work as a volunteer at the Good Samaritan Clinic in Northport (HERE), she recognized the unmet need of diabetic eye care in uninsured patients in West Alabama and sought to address it. She sought to establish the first and only free diabetic eye treatment facility in West Alabama incorporating diabetic eye treatment options including, but not limited to, intraocular injections, laser surgery, and vitrectomy surgery in an attempt to prevent irreversible diabetic blindness.
Eye doctors were critical in ensuring the success of the Diabetic Eye Clinic of Alabama. Doctors that volunteered from the beginning of the clinic included David Allgood, O.D., Richard Feist M.D., Maurice Lyn O.D., Mike Albert M.D., Charles Tillman O.D., John Mason M.D., Jimmie Jean Corley O.D., David Neeley M.D., Kevin Bray M.D., and Jason Crosson M.D.
A team and Board were assembled to assess the needs and possibilities of a free diabetic eye clinic in West Alabama. Through the volunteer efforts of Founding Board members, the paperwork for nonprofit status was filed, and a site for the Clinic was established. The Board wanted every donated dollar to go to patient care. Therefore, the Diabetic Eye Clinic of Alabama solely consists of non paid board members, administrators, volunteers, physicians, and lay people from all walks of life. Donors, foundations, and organizations were asked for contributions to begin the clinic.
The Diabetic Eye Clinic of Alabama received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status on May 22, 2018. The clinic held its inaugural opening on October 28, 2017, treating and educating underserved diabetic patients across West Alabama and East Mississippi.