Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 5:13 pm | Fair 56º


SEE International Jump-Starts Vision Care Program for the Underserved with New Clinic

Local nonprofit SEE International celebrated the reopening of its Santa Barbara Vision Care Program last night by holding an open house in its new clinic space.

The clinic was dedicated to the program’s founder George ​Primbs (M.D., F.A.C.S.) and offers free eye care to low-income individuals in Santa Barbara County.

Its new proximity to the main office has greatly increased program capacity and flexibility, as well as staff efficiency.

Approximately 60 community members crowded into the new clinic to toast Dr. Primbs, enjoy delicious food and wine and tour the office that will restore sight to thousands of underprivileged residents of Santa Barbara County for years to come.

“For more than 30 years, the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program has been the safety net for those in need,” commented SEE President and CEO Randal Avolio. “When there is a child or adult (who) has a concern regarding their sight, we are there to support them, regardless of their ability to pay."

Dr. Primbs has been a key figure at SEE International since its inception in 1974. As an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, Dr. Primbs specializes in the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.

He provided free eye examinations for people with diabetes and the medically underserved through SEE’s Santa Barbara Vision Care program since the early 1980’s until his retirement in late 2014.

Dr. Primbs received his medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine. After serving as an eye surgeon and Captain in the U.S. Air Force, he earned his ophthalmology degree from UCLA.

He remains active with community nonprofits, as reflected by his continued involvement as a board member of SEE International.

Dr. Primbs has received many prestigious awards, including: the Lions Sight and Hearing Award, in 1994; the Jules Stein Eye Institute Teaching Award at UCLA, in 2003; the W.D. Sansum Award for distinguished service to the community, in 2013; and the SEE International Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2014.

Since the founding of the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program in the mid-1980’s, more than 55,000 community members have received free eye care.  

By the end of 2015, SEE expects that the program will serve more than 1,400 low income individuals.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Santa Barbara Vision Care Coordinator Lara Rich at 805.963.3303 or [email protected].

— Stephen Bunnell is the coordinator of analytics and communications for SEE International.

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