416 Lives Served at DeltaVision Clinic at Oakridge Neighborhood
Residents of Oakridge Neighborhood were provided free eye exams and fitted for needed eyeglasses at the three-day DeltaVision Free Clinic held September 30 – October 2. Delta Dental of Iowa and DeltaVision, in partnership with Oakridge Neighborhood and Prevent Blindness Iowa, brought a free, volunteer-led OneSight clinic to Des Moines. OneSight is an independent nonprofit organization that is “committed to eradicating the global vision crisis.” More than 50 skilled and general volunteers staffed the clinic that was held in the Oakridge Neighborhood Community Center.
Over the course of the three-day free clinic 347 Oakridge residents and others in the community received complete eye exams, 299 were fitted for free eyeglasses and 26 were referred to specialists for a variety of potential eye diseases. In addition, Prevent Blindness Iowa conducted 69 vision screenings for preschoolers attending Oak Academy. Based on the screenings, some students were then referred to the vision clinic for a complete eye exam and glasses. Volunteers noted that for many of the patients this was their first eye exam or they were in need of new eyeglass prescriptions after wearing the same glasses for many years.
“Events like this vision clinic provide a direct impact to Iowans and help us fulfill our mission of improving the health and lives of those we serve,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “We are so appreciative of our partners in this effort and thankful for the investment of time by our volunteers to affect the lives of more than 400 individuals in our community.”
Volunteers included optometrists and ophthalmologists, employees from Delta Dental of Iowa and DeltaVision, Prevent Blindness Iowa, students from Des Moines University and Drake University, and staff and residents from Oakridge Neighborhood including translators to assist with the 29 languages spoken in the housing development community. A steady stream of people flowed through the Oakridge Neighborhood Community Center for three days where patients moved through a series of stations to receive a thorough eye exam. If eyeglasses were prescribed, the patients chose from a large selection of eyeglass frames. They were fitted with their chosen frame and will receive their eyeglasses the end of October when they are delivered to Oakridge.
“The clinic’s impact was significant. Together with Delta Dental of Iowa and DeltaVision we improved the lives of our Oakridge residents by giving them access to critical vision screenings, which for many, was a first,” said Teree Caldwell-Johnson, President and CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood and Oakridge Neighborhood Services. “Many of our immigrant and refugee populations face barriers to accessing essential health and wellness services. By offering the clinic onsite we were able to bridge the access gap and increase levels of participation for our residents.”
One in seven people worldwide, or 1.1 billion people, can’t see clearly because they have no way to get an exam or pair of glasses. OneSight research shows that work productivity increases by 35% when an individual can see clearly, increasing earning potential by 20%. In the United States, one in four students has an undiagnosed vision problem and experts estimate that 80% of learning is visual. Lack of access to vision care is comprised of three main gaps: lack of affordability, lack of awareness, and lack of physical access.
“We know that 75% of adults require some sort of vision correction and that millions of children suffer from undetected vision problems,” said Dr. Chad Overman, director of vision benefits, DeltaVision. “Through the screening processes over the three days of the clinic, we were able to identify people with some eye diseases that require additional treatment and to fit children and adults with eyeglasses, in many cases for the first time.”