Explore UAB

by Satina Richardson

For the ninth consecutive year, Community Eye Care, the community service arm of UAB Eye Care at the UAB School of Optometry (UABSO), hosted Gift of Sight. The weeklong event provided 216 patients in need with free comprehensive eye exams and glasses.

Optometrists on faculty at UABSO, residents, alumni, and students provided care while current and former staff ensured the giving event’s success. Community partners such as VSP Vision Care and Remote Area Medical provided vital resources including free frames and lenses cut onsite while patients waited. 

Janene Sims, OD, PhD, Community Eye Care director said, “The heartfelt impact is two-fold. Patients received access to the care they otherwise might not be able to afford, and as caregivers, we feel fortunate that our skillset affords us the opportunity to provide this type of care.”

Patients had diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions. When necessary, they were referred to other providers for additional free care. Conditions included glaucoma, convergence insufficiency, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, combined cataracts, and exotropia. Because optometrists can detect other conditions, one patient was diagnosed with elevated blood pressure likely due to hypertension.

“Our goal was to not turn away anyone who qualified for the program so the 2022 event was extended by one week and into the new year to accommodate all of the requests,” Sims said.