A new vision center seeks to bring Marana’s eye care into focus.

The Lions Vision Center opens Monday on the third floor of Marana Health Center, 13395 N. Marana Main St.

The center, which will provide glasses but not contact lenses, will be the fourth Arizona Lions Vision Center, joining one at 3003 S. Country Club Road, as well as locations in Phoenix and Casa Grande. The center provides eye testing and glasses for self-pay and low-income customers.

Mary Carter, MHC Healthcare’s Director of Special Projects, said the idea for the center came about in January. MHC had been planning to start a mobile vision service, but Carter forged some alliances that allowed the project to become more ambitious.

MHC Healthcare created the center in a partnership with Arizona Lions International and a $100,000 gift from the Abbett Family Foundation.

The clinic will take appointments and walk-ins. Carter said she plans to be one of the first customers.

“I’m going to get glasses,” she said. “It’s cheaper than Costco. I have resources, so I will have to be cash pay. I’ll get lenses, frames, an eye exam and a glaucoma screening for $65.”

Construction started at the end of July and was finished in late August. New equipment was installed Sept. 6.

The clinic consists of a doctor’s office and sections for testing and eyeglasses fitting. Carter is planning a grand opening for an unspecified date in November.

Phoenix-based Arizona Lions Vision Center’s executive director, Jeanette Russell , said the organization recognized a need for its services in Marana.

“You’ve got migrant workers, and people like that in the community who don’t have any type of insurance,” Russell said. “We want to help provide them with glasses regardless of whether they have insurance or not.”

Russell said $60,000 left over from the Abbett gift will pay for about 1,000 pairs of glasses for people in need, but once those funds run out the center will need more funding to continue the service.

“With the money left over after we paid for construction we can afford to provide glasses for low-income patients,” Carter said. “People who can’t afford them can apply.”

Russell is particularly concerned about children with poor vision who don’t have glasses.

“What we do know is that when people have no insurance, a lot of their children tend to go without glasses,” she said. “With no glasses they have no education because they can’t do their work. These children have no education.”

Contact Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or 573-4130.