To see first hand the importance of vision care in a community who do not have easy access to these basic needs was one experience I shall never forget. With the help with the Lions Club and Miami Dade Vision Care program, I had a great opportunity to travel to the island of Jamaica, to provide these needs to the community by performing basic eye exams to people who truly needed them.
The purpose of our visit was to provide basic vision screening in the small mountain community of Mandeville, Jamaica. Setting up a clinic in a local school in the area, we performed basic tests such as visual acuity, color vision, stereopsis, and cover/uncover test to hundreds of patients who needed our services. After the evaluation of theses tests, the patients were then to see the optometrist to evaluate the health of their eyes and performed basic retinoscopy to correct any refractive error the patient had experienced. After the visit with the doctor, if they did experience any refractive error, they were fit with a trial frame with their prescription, and then were fit with a free pair of glasses that were to be made for them at another location.
With the amount of patients we had screened in our clinic, I had a chance to evaluate many eye problems that I had never seen before, such as strabismus, pterygiums, pinguecula, conditions I had only seen in text books. Knowing that some of these condition can be prevented with basic eye care, it was understandable how these conditions could form with the constant exposure to the sunlight, with no prior protect from the sun. And to provide a pair of glasses to people who have not had the opportunity to see the world in focus is such as rewarding experience. To see patients faces’ light up after a patient was fit with a trial frame was such a expression of disbelief, that this is how the world actually looks like, is something I will always appreciate when working in such a profession.This brought to light how important our services were to these people who needed vision care.
With the hard work and dedication of the vision care team of Miami Dade College, we had seen over 300 patients and fit 250 pairs of glasses over a period of a week to those who needed them. With the work with the optometrists, the community was educated in the prevention of eye disease. This trip was a huge success, and it giving back to a community in this fashion was truly rewarding. It has given me a sense of self worth to the services we were able to provide for a community that could benefit from these services.