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Find out if you're eligible for free cataract surgery in Sacramento

For the 23rd straight year, Kaiser Permanente is offering free cataract surgery to Sacramento-area residents who could not otherwise afford it.

Dr. Clint McClanahan, a local eye doctor, got the Mission Cataract initiative started here in 1995 after reading about it in an ophthalmology journal. The brainchild of a Fresno physician, Mission Cataract asks doctors to set aside one day a year to perform cataract surgeries for people who need it. Surgeons in as many as 16 states participate.

To determine whether you qualify, call (916) 973-7159 and leave your contact information. You'll be asked to supply information verifying that your income level is no more than twice the federal poverty level. That's $24,120 for an individual, $32,480 for a couple or $49,200 for a family of four.

If you meet income guidelines, then you'll have to come in for a free eye exam where doctors will determine whether you indeed have cataracts. Screenings will be performed in late April, so call soon to ensure you qualify. Those who are selected will receive their surgeries in June.

McClanahan and other Kaiser ophthalmologists have performed more than 400 surgeries to remove cataracts since the program began. Dozens of other volunteers assist with the surgeries and screenings. Despite the expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, roughly 3 million people in California still do not have insurance coverage.