International health group provides vision health service for CSKT communities

Char-Koosta News 

PABLO — Each day, over 200 locals filed into the Joe McDonald Event Center lobby filling rows of seats and standing along the wall to attend Vision Health International’s free eye care clinic. A team made up of optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists were on hand to provide multiple eye examinations as well as diagnose and fill prescriptions for corrective glasses.

Chief program manger for the Missoula office Meaghan Frisbee, MPA, said the weeklong clinic served over 1,000 participants total and filled over 100 prescriptions for glasses per-day. “Our foundation works with underserved communities around the world to provide access to professional eye care. Being based in Missoula, we recognize that there are people locally in need of our services and that’s what we’re here to provide,” she said.

Volunteer ophthalmologist Randy Rothman provided consultation and screening services. The Colorado based doctor said he’s provided volunteer services around the world including Ecuador and Guatemala. “Everybody deserves medical care and as providers it’s important that we do what we can to fill that void,” he said. “This community has been great. At this clinic, we’ve identified a lot of kids in need of glasses and I met many adults who haven’t had an eye exam in years.”

Rothman said annual exams are critical for eye health. “There is no underlying eye diseases that can’t be detected and treated so it’s important that everyone receive annual eye exams especially children and individuals with Diabetes. For older patients it’s important to have your eye pressure examined,” he said.

Vision Health International is a world health organization that has provided vision services for over 1.3 billion people worldwide since 1985. The program reports that “over 90 percent of vision-impaired individuals live in low-income and middle-income countries,” and “…those living with vision impairment are more likely to experience other disadvantages like poverty as well as education and employment barriers.”

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