SA nonprofit giving underprivileged people the gift of sight

I Care SA recorded more than 10,000 patient visits in 2019

I Care San Antonio has been serving the uninsured and under-insured members of the community for more than 20 years. It recently launched a program to expedite services for veterans.

SAN ANTONIOI Care San Antonio was launched more than 20 years ago by Dr. Robert Rice and other volunteers in the community. The clinic located just outside the gates of the Haven for Hope campus is able to provide free services to the uninsured and under-insured.

Executive Director Libby Bentley said there’s nothing like this clinic in the country. Roughly 40 doctors volunteer at least half a day a month to see patients. There are seven full-time staff members and five part-time staff members that help run the clinic. They have provided more than $1.1 million worth of care this year so far.

“We do full level care, eye injections, lasers, medications, detach retina surgeries” Bentley said. “And that’s what makes us stand apart stand apart from any other charity clinic in the country.”

The clinic recently launched the I Care San Antonio All Star Eye Care Program to better serve veterans. Veterans have always been served through the program, but this new initiative helps expedite the services and care to them and their immediate family.

I Care SA is solely supported by donations. The organization does not take government grants because it would limit its ability to help everyone who is in need, according to the nonprofit. About 20% of patients the doctors see are homeless. The rest are people in the community who don’t have insurance or are under-insured.

Gary Duvall walked into the clinic several years ago when he was going blind.

“It had never occurred to me to go see a vision doctor until I started to have this problem,” he explained.

Duvall was homeless at the time, but the doctors were able to provide him with the surgery he needed to save his vision.

“I commend all of the doctors that come here because they could be doing something else with their time,” Duvall said. “But they are compassionate people to come here to help the unfortunate.”

The clinic is in need of monetary donations and more eye specialists who want to volunteer. It will also take any old prescription glasses. It is located at 1 Haven for Hope Way, San Antonio, Texas, 78207.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.