Virginia Eye seeks to give back

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, March 31, 2016

Virginia Eye Consultants is accepting nominations for “Looking Forward … Giving Back,” a program through which the company provides charitable eye procedures Hampton Roads residents who are uninsured, underinsured or financially unable to pay for their procedure.

Procedures provided during the three years the company has offered the program include cataract surgery, LASIK surgery, corneal transplants, glaucoma surgery and other treatments for trauma.

“Looking Forward…Giving Back brings free eye surgery to patients who would otherwise have no access whatsoever,” said Dr. John Sheppard, president of Virginia Eye Consultants.

Email newsletter signup

“This program helps deserving patients, many times the working poor without insurance, receive desperately needed services they could not otherwise afford.”

These sight-saving surgeries can be life changing.

James Joyner, who received a procedure in 2014, said, “The weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders.”  Before his surgery, Joyner would avoid making eye contact with people, because he was ashamed of how his vision problem impacted his appearance.

“You all gave me every holiday in one day,” Joyner told the doctors. “New Year’s, because I have a fresh new start. Valentine’s Day, because of all of the love I felt while I was here. Easter, because my heart is resurrected. The Fourth of July, because I have my independence back. And Christmas, because you’ve given me the gift of my sight and self esteem.”

Virginia Eye Consultants has served Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina since 1963.

Today, there are 16 providers and more than 190 employees in the Norfolk facility, with satellite offices in Hampton, Suffolk, Smithfield and Virginia Beach.

Patients will be selected through a nomination process, open through midnight May 15. Submissions can be made at any of Virginia Eye Consultants’ five locations or online at

Nominations will be reviewed by a Virginia Eye Consultants’ panel, and surgeries will be performed in August at the company’s Norfolk location.