Dr. Tracy Matchinski, optometrist at the Chicago Lighthouse and faculty at Illinois College of Optometry, traveled to Ecuador this winter. She went with a collaborative group of VOSH, SVOSH, and Rotary volunteers to provide vision care, autorefraction and glasses with the SVOne. The group spent four days performing screenings, prescribing, and referring thousands of patients. They donated 2,000 pairs of prescription glasses. Optometry student Gretchen Arneson wrote about her experience on this trip previously for our blog. We are privileged to now also share a remarkable story from Dr. Matchinski’s perspective. It is stories like these that remind us of all the doors that can be opened through meaningful use of technology.
At the end of a long clinic day, a father carried his 18 year old son to the clinic. Our clinic was technically closed, but we took both of them for exams. The father was very muscular, and you could see the reason. His son had cerebral palsy and was unable to walk, so the father had to carry him everywhere. The local Rotary group immediately made plans to provide a wheelchair for the family.
The father’s exam was straightforward; healthy eyes, just needed reading glasses. The son’s exam was more complicated. The son had never had an eye exam and was having terrible headaches in school and while reading.
His vision was 20/400 in each eye, and he had to hold things very close to see them. After an autorefraction and comprehensive exam, we determined his eye health was very good. He just really needed glasses! His prescription was: +9.50 -3.00 x 175 in the right eye and +9.00 -2.75 x 005 in the left eye (that’s very far-sighted!). With these glasses his vision improved to 20/70 in each eye. It is likely, after simply wearing his glasses, the vision will improve even more as the refractive amblyopia resolves.
We had a pair of glasses we were able to give to him that very day with about 85% of his prescription and transitions. When he put them on for the first time, he gave us a huge smile. A second pair was made by the Universidad Metropolitana optometry school with the full prescription.
For this patient, his eyesight is critical to his education and ability to work; even more so due to his physical impairment.
Greater access to autorefraction and vision care is needed all over the world. Dedicated providers like Dr. Matchinski make this care possible, and we are elated that the SVOne can make this important work faster, easier and more reliable.