by Faizan Malik
During economic slumps, regular and quality eye care in particular may become an impractical luxury. Vision for Vision is an eye care awareness group at USC that has taken notice of the community’s need for affordable eye care by responding with a free vision screening on Saturday March 24. The clinic took place at McCarthy Quad, the site of CHIP’s 2012 Health Fair, through the efforts of Vision for Vision and its volunteers.
Vision for Vision was however not alone. Besides student workers, the clinic was staffed by doctors from the Doheny Eye Institute and had the corporate sponsorship of Kowa Optimed,Inc., a leading developer of optical technology.
David Mittelstein is the president of Vision for Vision and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering at USC. He says the clinic provided a visual acuity test, pressure readings, retinal imaging, and consultation with an ophthalmologist for over a hundred patients free of charge.
“The vision clinic was a huge a success. We set out to provide a service lacking in our community and were able to provide it without compromising patient care or the integrity of our supporting institutions” said David. “Of course none of this would have been possible without all our planning and support.”
In fact, according to Divya Ayyala, the clinic organizer for Vision for Vision, planning the clinic took months of hard work. She says it was difficult getting all the logistics in order and convincing different organizations to support the clinic.
“This is the first time we’ve ever run a clinic, so it was really hard to prove to organizations that we were serious and that we would put their resources to good use. Finally we were able to get doctors from the Doheny Eye Institute to volunteer their time, and Kowa Optimed to bring some really expensive and delicate equipment as well as teach our volunteers how to use it. Without them the clinic would never have been a success” said Divya.
Craig Ross is the president and COO of Kowa Optimed, Inc. and was at the site the entire time to monitor the clinic. It was through his organization’s generous support and belief in Vision for Vision’s cause that the clinic was able to provide top of the line equipment, including an automated tonometer to detect glaucoma, slit lamps for doctors to look within the eye, and a retinal camera to snap a high resolution picture of the back of the eye.
When asked whether the clinic met his expectations Ross said, “ It exceeded my expectations tremendously. Vision for Vision and their volunteers did a tremendous job. Having been the first time they’ve done this, the results were great, and we’re in to participate in the future.”
According to David Mittelstein, Vision for Vision has already begun planning for future events, and not without good reason.
The chairman of the Doheny Eye Institute, Dr. Ronald Smith, said “we enjoyed the event and look forward to next year.”
Just as important said David, was the time and effort put in by volunteers, and Vision for Vision is always looking for more help.
Victoria Chien is a sophomore at USC who volunteered at the event.
“You definitely get a lot of hands on experience using the equipment, working with patients, and shadowing all the physicians” she said. “I would recommend volunteering at future events.”
To learn more about Vision for Vision and how to get involved visit visionforvision.org