A picture from the 61st Annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast.

First of all, many thanks to the Santa Monica community for coming to our 62nd Annual Pancake Breakfast! We had over 420 people attend the event, making it one of our most successful. Your support will provide funding for local nonprofits that support services to the Santa Monica community.

Because Lions Clubs International now supports so many worthwhile causes, from youth, to environment and feeding the hungry, it is easy to forget how important our original mission of being “knights of the blind” is. According to a recent poll by Research!America, people in the US fear blindness as much as they fear Alzheimer’s, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. They fear losing their sight more than they do losing their memory, hearing, speech, or even a limb.

This was further emphasized this past weekend when I spoke to a Lion that recently had cataract surgery. In the course of preparing him for the surgery his ophthalmologist discovered another eye issue that, if left untreated, could have resulted in irreversible blindness. It wasn’t until that moment he fully understood how he took his vision for granted and how important Lions are in educating people about eye health.

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. However, cataract surgery is one of the most feared surgical procedures. Because your vision loss is gradual it is hard to notice how your vision is changing as well as making it easy to put off the treatment. But today the surgery has advanced considerably over the last 10 years, so that risks are fewer, recovery is faster and it isn’t as painful. Your eye doctor will need to perform a comprehensive eye exam and have access to your full medical history in order to reduce the risks and select your best course of treatment. An ophthalmologist I know spent years telling his patients to have the procedure, but because he knew every possible risk, no matter how small, he kept putting it off. When he finally had the surgery he said he couldn’t believe how much better he could see, “The colors are brighter and I hardly need my glasses.” He also felt foolish because it was such a simple procedure and short recovery time. “I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!”

To help raise awareness of eye diseases, such as cataracts, and eye health, the Santa Monica Lions will be posting useful information (and some fun facts) to our Facebook page each week. Please check it out and share with family and friends.

In October the Lions will be meeting at the Best Western Gateway on Thursday the 1st and 15th at 12:15 p.m. We will also be performing community service at the Westside Family Health Center by stuffing backpacks and diaper bags on Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. If you wish to join us for any of the events, please contact us at santamonicalion@gmail.com or (310) 442-9513.

By Susan DeRemer


For more information about the Lions Club, visit www.facebook.com/smlions or http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/santamonica, call (310) 623-4499 or reach them at P.O. Box 3435, Santa Monica, CA 90408.