MIDFIELD, AL (WBRC) - A win, win as UAB students get hands on experience while giving back to the community.
On Wednesday, students from the UAB School of Optometry gave free eye exams and glasses to people at the Western Health Center in Midfield. It’s part of the Gift of Sight program that helps people in the community who are underinsured or have a low income.
“We need vision everyday,” said Dr. Janene Sims, an Optometrist and Associate Professor at the UAB School of Optometry. “It’s important to make sure the eyes are working properly, and we’re not seeing any problems from diabetes or hypertension.”
One person taking advantage of the free exams was Jalen Hogan, a student at Lawson State Community College.
“I have astigmatism in my right eye, so I can’t really see far distances,” said Hogan.
This was the second time he’s had his eyes examined by UAB students.
“Everything is so expensive when it comes to college,” explained Hogan. “To come down here and take advantage of these free exams really means a lot.”
“A lot of people may have health insurance, but a lot of times health insurance does not cover vision and eye care,” said Sims, who says the program is great training for her students. “They even picked up on somethings on a patient this morning, and we had to send the patient over to UAB for further testing.”
The students also reached a milestone on Wednesday, treating their 1,000th patient. The program started five years ago and is held once a year for a week. On Saturday, students will give free eye exams to people staying in shelters.
“By us doing this, we are able to help out people with a very important sense, which is vision,” said Sims.