Optical Assistance and Recovery Continues in Communities Affected by Midwest Tornados

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CHICAGO and E.PEORIA, Ill.—In the aftermath of several tornados that devastated Illinois communities last month, optical associations and industry members of the affected areas continue recovery efforts.

Bard Optical, based in Peoria, Ill., which suffered damages and was without power for several days has since restored operations at its location in Washington, Ill., the hardest-hit community of the storm, as reported by VMail. Its locations in Pekin, Ill. and East Peoria, Ill. were not affected.

According to a Bard spokesperson, the practice continues to offer replacement glasses, contacts and readers to those who lost theirs in the storm, and the American Red Cross of Central Illinois has set up in Washington to aid those without homes.

“All is back up and running in Washington at this time,” the spokesperson told VMail. “Rebuilding has begun in all three towns.”

As reported on redcross.org, The American Red Cross responded across five states, operating in 12 shelters across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio and assisting individuals whose homes were damaged in Kentucky and Michigan. Emergency stations were set up to provide food, information and health care services in certain areas and health workers have been made available to help tornado victims replace lost items, such as medications and eyeglasses.

A VSP spokesperson told VMail the network group is “still reaching out to some of the doctors. Most seem to have little or no damage, but one practice was completely destroyed by a fire after the storm.” He continued, “VSP is working with that doctor to provide portable equipment for his temporary office. We’re also helping him restock his frame inventory and will be helping him with marketing efforts when the practice is reopened.”

VSP also released a statement to members saying any VSP practice damaged or closed due to the storm may contact VSPOutreach@vsp.com or call (800) 852-7600, ext. 7373 for assistance. VSP patients who need eyecare or replacement glasses due to a disaster can receive them by calling (800) 615-1883 and non-VSP patients can contact their nearest local American Red Cross chapter or shelter to request a gift certificate.

The American Optometric Association had no further updates regarding its members.