Recently I offered up some of my radio ad space for a non-profit. Alpine Vision Center in Moscow, ID was the first organization to contact me. While Alpine Vision Center is not technically a non-profit organization–they do have a pretty cool program. In Dr. Wilson’s own words, here’s a bit more about the program that they have that benefits the island of Dominica:
“Recently I was asked what makes Alpine Vision Center different from other optometry practices in our region. If you are already part of our Alpine family, you know our doctors are professional, thorough, and care deeply for every single patient. The devotion of our entire practice to serving our community clearly makes Alpine Vision Center stand out. However, there is a something else Alpine Vision Center does that really sets our practice apart. Alpine Vision Center also gives globally.
Three years ago, Alpine Vision Center launched the iGive Program. It is simply a buy-one, give-one program: for each qualifying order our patients place, Alpine creates a pair of glasses that are donated to someone in need. Each year, we send a doctor and/or an optician to the island of Dominica to conduct eye exams and distribute these glasses. When patients select Alpine’s iGive lenses for their frames, they are supporting this incredible program and can feel good about purchasing locally and giving globally.
For the past three years, our practice has been working with an international philanthropic organization called VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services for Humanity) and specifically, a chapter based in Michigan. This year, Dr. Wilson’s trip was rescheduled from January to April due to the devastation caused by hurricane Maria last fall. Although the region is all-too-familiar with hurricanes, Maria has been regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to Dominica along with other Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico.
Like Puerto Rico, there is a great deal of rebuilding left to do in Dominica. This added some major challenges to the trip. Most of the facilities Dr. Wilson worked in were still without power and running on generators. Roads and bridges remained washed out, making travel challenging–to impossible–on portions of the island. The majority of residents who are fortunate enough to still have a structure to live in no longer have a functional roof. They are making due with rudimentary tarps or scrap corrugated metal while they wait for supplies and aid relief.
Along with the widespread loss of property were many of the residents’ personal belongings, including eyeglasses. This made the need for eye care and eye wear that much greater. Over the course of four days, Dr. Wilson and the team provided eyecare and distributed eyeglasses to approximately 1,800 patients. Most of the people seen were functionally blind and would remain so without something as simple as a pair of eyeglasses. Dr. Wilson’s team consisted of eight doctors conducting exams. They used hand-held instruments and trial frame refractions. There were seven opticians artfully filling prescriptions (using spherical equivalent–best fit approach). There were seven Optometry student interns assisting with exams and pre-tests, and a twelve member support crew managing check-in and pretesting.
Day 1 was spent in Portsmouth located on the northwestern tip of the island. This is also where Dr. Wilson’s team stayed for the week. Roughly 350 patients were seen.
Day 2 was spent in a smaller community called St. Joseph. ~300 patients
Day 3 the team split into two groups with one group traveling to Castle Bruce, and the other serving Marigot to the north. Each clinic saw ~250 patients
The final day was a marathon as it typically is. The team saw 650+ patients in an auditorium type setting in a larger community called Roseau.
There were a great deal of memorable experiences and patients over the course of the week. Not the least of which was an impromptu newborn baby delivered in the room next to Dr. Wilson in Castle Bruce on Day 3. Dr. Wilson came to find out that the nurse delivering the baby was among their scheduled patients that day. Needless to say, they stayed late so she didn’t miss her appointment. Dr. Wilson’s 2018 Dominica trip revolved around a great deal of very gracious patients simply needing a proper pair of eyeglasses.
Our practice continues to construct glasses year round in preparation for our annual trip to Dominica to distribute quality glasses and provide free eye care to people in need. When you are ready for your next pair of glasses, remember that buying from Alpine allows you to buy locally and give globally with the iGive Program. If you have an old pair of glasses to donate for this cause, please deliver them to either of our convenient Moscow or Lewiston locations. Throughout the month of July, for every old pair of glasses donated, Alpine Vision Center will construct an additional pair of glasses on your behalf for donation.”
For more information about this awesome cause go to Alpine Vision’s website!
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