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A focus on community service: UAB Eye Care mobilizes to help people in need

Posted Feb 23 2012 11:43am
For the second time in less than a year, UABSO is working with VSP Vision Care and Transitions Optical to bring free vision services, including comprehensive eye exams, to help underserved residents in the Bessemer, Ala., area.

UAB optometry faculty and interns are utilizing a fully stocked mobile eye clinic to examine patients in state-of-the-art exam rooms. The bus even has an onboard dispensary where patients may select their new glasses.

“We’ve been out here for a few days and already have helped more than 100 people, and that number is rising,” explains B.B. Jefferson, clinic coordinator of the UAB Community Care Clinic .

“This type of medical care is very important to any community that lacks vision insurance. There are homeless and low-income people out there with diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical problems that can damage or cause loss of vision,” Jefferson explains.

T he eye bus was in tornado damaged areas of Alabama after storms ripped through the state in April 2011. UABSO was happy to help then, and they are pleased to have the opportunity once again.

“The response from those we have helped is always the same, they are so grateful,” Jefferson says. “I cannot express how it makes me feel to be able to help meet their needs.”

Staffing the mobile eye bus is not the only way the UABSO gives back, though. Once a month they set up clinics at several Birmingham area shelters, and they also visit rural areas of the Black Belt one Saturday per month to meet some of the vision needs there.

“As a famous poet once stated, ‘when you learn, teach, and when you get, give.’ We at UAB Eye Care count it as a privilege to be in a position to give back,” Jefferson finishes.
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