Shott Foundation funds WVU Eye Institute’s children’s outreach

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Eye Institute has received more than $50,000 in funding from Hugh I. Shott, Jr. Foundation in support of the its children’s vision services in southern West Virginia.

The $50,720 grant supports the Eye Institute’s Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program (CVRP), which provides blind and visually impaired school-aged children with tools to become independent and employable by optimizing visual function both at home and school. CVRP's mission is to provide access to the visual environment for children with incurable vision loss through medical eye care, optical devices, assistive technology, educational recommendations and support to local school systems. Children receive the clinic’s services regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

The Shott Foundation was established in 1984 to help improve the social and economic quality of life in both Mr. Shott’s hometown of Bluefield, W.Va., and the state. The foundation has a long history of support for the WVU Eye Institute, predating Shott’s death in 1986. As Shott and his father each experienced vision problems, he felt the Eye Institute was deserving of his financial support.

“Mr. Shott’s father was technically blind, and he himself had problems with his eyesight late in life. Because of this and the fact that his late wife, Jane McDermott Shott, was from Morgantown, Mr. Shott wanted to do something at West Virginia University to attract quality physicians to the Eye Institute,” R.W. Wilkinson, president of the Shott Foundation, said. “The Eye Institute has expanded its CVRP services in southern West Virginia, and we are pleased to help them move closer to Bluefield this year to provide eye care for children whose families cannot afford quality treatment.”

“The support from this foundation will allow children with low vision and blindness opportunities and support to improve education, independence and better quality of life,” Rebecca Coakley, CVRP director, said.

Each year, the WVU Eye Institute sees approximately 31,000 patients from all 55 counties in West Virginia at its Morgantown facility and various outreach clinics around the state. The Eye Institute’s patient care provides diagnosis, treatment and care for specialized medical and surgical vision conditions and diseases that without attention, could sometimes lead to long-term vision loss.

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
lr: 02-18-11