If you are already part of our Alpine family, you know our doctors are professional, thorough, and care deeply for every patient we see on the Palouse and in the LC Valley. The devotion of our entire practice to providing the most personalized eye care and serving families in our community clearly makes Alpine Vision Center stand out. However, there is something else Alpine Vision Center does that sets our practice apart. In addition to giving to our local community, Alpine Vision Center also gives globally.
Alpine’s Commitment to Helping Those in Need
Alpine Vision Center launched the iGive Program three years ago. It is simply a buy-one, give-one program. For each qualifying order our patients place, our staff constructs an additional pair of glasses to donate to someone in need. Our Optometry practice is partnered with an international philanthropic organization called VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services for Humanity). Every year we partner with VOSH by sending a doctor and/or an optician to the island of Dominica to conduct eye exams and distribute these glasses.
The Island of Dominica Needs our Help
As a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last fall, Dr. Wilson’s trip was rescheduled from January to April this year. Although the region is all-too-familiar with hurricanes, Maria has been regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica.
Like Puerto Rico, there is a great deal of rebuilding left to do in Dominica. Most of the facilities Dr. Wilson worked in were still without power and running on generators. Roads and bridges remained washed out creating challenging travel conditions on 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 scraps of corrugated metal while they await supplies and aid relief.
“Over the course of four days, our team provided free eye care and distributed eyeglasses to approximately 1,800 patients. Eyeglasses are among many of the personal belongings that were lost and damaged during Hurricane Maria. Consequently, the need for eye care and eye wear is even greater than usual. Most of the people seen were functionally blind and would remain so without something as simple as a pair of eyeglasses.” –Nathan Wilson, OD
Providing Sight to the Residents of Dominica
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). In addition, there were seven optometry student interns assisting with exams and pre-tests, and a twelve member support crew managing check-in and pretesting.
Providing eye care to the people of Dominica revolves around gracious patients simply needing a proper pair of eyeglasses. On Dr. Wilson’s most recent trip, he spent the first day in Portsmouth located on the northwestern tip of the island. Roughly 350 patients were seen by his team. The second day was spent in a smaller community called St. Joseph where about 300 patients were seen.
On 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 about 250 patients. While Dr. Wilson was working in Castle Bruce on this day, he had one of his most memorable patient experiences when there was an impromptu delivery of a baby in the room next to him. The team discovered that the nurse delivering the baby was among their scheduled patients for that day. Needless to say, the doctors stayed late so she didn’t miss her appointment.
The fourth and final day in the larger community of Roseau was a marathon for the entire team. There, they provided free eye care to more than 650 patients in an auditorium type setting.
You Can Help Too
Alpine Vision Center 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 our patients select Alpine Vision’s iGive lenses for their frames, they are supporting this incredible program and can feel good about purchasing locally and giving globally.
This month, we are doubling our efforts and offering an additional way to help. Throughout the month of July, when you drop off any old pairs of prescription glasses at Alpine Vision Center, our team will construct an additional pair to donate to the iGive Program.