This WNBA Star Brings Free Vision Care in South Chicago


Chicago Sky player Diamond DeShields wanted to bring free vision care to the South Side of Chicago and says she is “overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and love” after hosting a free eye clinic there last month.

For DeShields, clear vision is something she’ll never take for granted. Growing up, she was forced to play with terrible vision. She told PEOPLE that after countless expensive lenses and two surgeries, she appreciates how big a deal clear vision is.



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DeShields spoke with PEOPLE after hosting a two-day free eye clinic, put on by global vision-care nonprofit OneSight and Oakley.



The clinic provided free eye exams and glasses to nearly 200 children and adults on the South Side. This included a family who lost everything after their house was recently burned down.

The Humphrey family was fitted with new glasses, and for their father, there was a replacement for the glaucoma medication he lost in the fire.

“It’s personal to me,” said DeShields. “I don’t know how getting these glasses will change peoples’ lives, but I do know my first glasses changed mine. They opened the game of basketball to me and I wouldn’t be playing at the level I am now without them.”

DeShields was one of four children raised by a single mother. When she was younger, she hesitated to complain about her blurred vision because she knew things were tough for her family. It wasn’t until she fell asleep in class that she told her mother about her eye issues, and finally visited an ophthalmologist.



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“I couldn’t see the board and looking at it all blurry would make me sleepy,” she recalled.

She was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea that distorts vision. Her treatment included a $1,200 pair of contact lenses, with a prescription that changed every 4 to 6 months due to the progression of the disorder. However, the lenses gave her a much clearer vision and changed her life in the process.

A week after the free vision care clinic, DeShields still thinks about the impact it’s made on people. “There was an older man who had put on glasses for the first time in 20 years, and a little boy who got his first glasses and really looked at his own face for the first time. It was just so inspirational I wanted to cry.”


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