Mobile eye care serves community

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There are people everywhere in Washington County who need vision screening but can’t afford to get it in the traditional way.

Either their insurance won’t cover it, or not all of it, or they can’t even afford the insurance at all.

That’s where Pacific University’s Optometry Eye Van comes into play.

The Eye Van has been serving the community since 2005 when Dr. Susan Littlefield of Pacific started the program.

The van partnered with Virginia Garcia over the summer to help with vision screening. Its services are free and it uses an interned staff from Pacific’s optometry program.

Those who are involved in the screenings are required to be a part of eight, over their time at the college. Littlefield noted that despite the screenings being required, the students actually enjoy doing them. She said they often times come back over and over again, even after they have completed their course requirement.

The van visits elementary schools, as well as farms where underprivileged workers can have their eyes checked. There is no limit to the lengths the van is willing to travel. Where there is a need, there is the van.

It was last seen at the Corn Roast on Saturday Sept. 15. It was offering free vision screenings to Pacific students, as well as anyone else who was a part of the community.

Students in charge of the van waited patiently for “non-paying” customers to find their way to the station. It was very informal. Warm and welcoming was what the interns said they were going for. They want to create an environment for people to make patients feel comfortable. Spreading the message is the goal. The more eyes they can check, the more good it does society. The van is all about doing what is right, for the right reasons.

The Eye Van is a selfless representation of what Pacific’s optometry program is all about. Dean Jennifer Smythe welcomes students on campus to come down to the optometry department to schedule times to have their screening done for free. It is an opportunity that should not be passed up. It is not everyday someone is willing to do anything for free, especially something as important as checking your eyesight.


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