Page 4 - Heart of Hoag June 2016
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Not only did they receive eye exams, many of the children who attended the free screening walked out sporting new eyeglasses the very same day.
VSP and Raise Foundation Give and Get Clearer Vision of Newport Beach
With smiling children and adults as evidence, the event brings the bene ts of agency collaboration into sharp focus
Community members who attended the Raise Foundation/VSP Mobile Eye Clinic event at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living immediately saw the bene t of the experience.
With the support of Hoag’s Community Bene t Program, more than 100 people who had limited or no access to eye care came out earlier this year to the free mobile eye exam clinic to receive examinations from leading local optometrists. More than 85 walked away with a new free pair of glasses.
Most of the patients seen during the event were children scheduled through the Raise Foundation, an anti-child abuse advocacy and education group.
“Some of these kids had never had an eye examination before. For kids who needed glasses, they could pick out a frame and VSP would grind the lenses right there. The kids would walk out being able to see,” said Ed Buf ngton, retired vice president of strategic partnerships of VSP, one of the largest providers of eye care and eyewear in the country.
While this made the children happy, the adult volunteers were thrilled.
“I loved seeing the reaction of the VSP
staff,” said Buf ngton, who aligned the Raise Foundation with the VSP Mobile Clinic for the event. “VSP staff take turns doing a rotation on the mobile clinic all around the country, and the adult excitement is special.”
Kim Rankin, mobile clinics operations manager for VSP Vision Care, said she and her fellow volunteers were excited by the response from the community – a region of the state that she hadn’t before realized was in need.
“Being from Northern California, you hear of Newport Beach and Orange County as very wealthy. It was interesting to  nd that a couple blocks over from where we were (at the Center) there was a large population of low- income and homelessness,” Rankin said.
The need was so overwhelming that optometrists weren’t able to provide appointments for everyone who wanted them, so VSP left behind gift certi cates with the Raise Foundation to disperse to people for free comprehensive eye exams and glasses at no cost.
VSP began its mobile clinics following Hurricane Katrina to deliver emergency eye care to displaced storm victims. The vision care company now has three mobile clinics that travel to underserved areas all over the United States and Canada, seeing 25 patients per day, per doctor.
Through the mobile events, Rankin has learned just how vital a component eye care is to overall health care. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but they are also the windows to our health: More than 30 diseases and conditions can be detected through an eye exam alone.
“A lot of people don’t associate eye exams with being important with overall health, but an eye doctor can see evidence of brain tumors, diabetes and glaucoma,” Rankin said. “We try to educate the public and let them know the importance of eye exams.”

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