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When Texans renew or apply for their driver’s license or ID, they can donate to HHS’ BEST program by checking “Yes” next to, “Do you wish to donate $1.00 to the Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment Program?” on the Texas Department of Public Safety form.
BEST provides free vision screenings and financial assistance for urgent eye treatments. It’s the sole HHS program funded only by donations and most come from the renewal or application form.
“All Texans must have a REAL ID by Oct. 1, 2020, in order to fly on a domestic flight or enter federal buildings,” Program Specialist Lena Deary said. “So this is a great time to learn about the BEST program and consider donating if you need to renew your ID.”
In fiscal year 2019, the BEST program provided 3,131 screenings and treatments for Texans.
Vision screenings take place across the state throughout the year. Health professionals discuss screening results with each individual and make recommendations for their health care provider or give information on how to get treatment if they don’t have coverage.
To participate in the BEST program, Texans must be recommended by an ophthalmologist, be at least 18 years old, not have insurance or Medicaid and not be legally blind.
If a person is eligible, they can receive funding for treatment or surgery for conditions that could lead to blindness such as diabetic retinopathy, detached retina and glaucoma. If an individual doesn’t financially qualify for the program, BEST will provide other resources.