Middlesex Community College’s (MxCC) Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing Program (OD&D) continued to show its commitment to the community by holding its 22nd annual Community Eye Care Day on March 2. More than 70 people from surrounding communities received a complete ocular health assessment and, if needed, will receive new glasses.
Two eye care specialists conducted the eye assessments: Patrick Albergo, MD, an ophthalmologist from Connecticut Eye Center in West Hartford, and Hal Olstrom, O.D., an optometrist from Clinton Eye Associates. MxCC OD&D students took measurements, manufactured, and dispensed eyewear in the on-campus eyewear clinic.
“Vision is so important and I am happy to come here and give back to the community,” said Dr. Albergo. “I know that the patients we have seen today are very appreciative of what we are doing.”
“It’s estimated that in Connecticut, some 5,000 people per year are not getting the eyecare they need because they are unable to pay for it,” said project organizer and MxCC's OD&D Professor René “Skip” Rivard. “This project provides an opportunity for our students to understand that being a health care provider is not strictly measured by financial benefits. They recognize the need to use their education to provide public service within their community. The benefits of this lesson should follow them throughout their career.”
Student project coordinators Craig Delecke of Moodus and Justin Coreano of Derby contacted various social and human services organizations in Middletown such as St. Vincent de Paul and Amazing Grace Food Pantry for referrals to the eye clinic.
“The Community Eye care Days program is a great opportunity for those in need who cannot obtain eye care and eyeglasses. It allows students to recognize the importance of Public Service,” Coreano said.
“So many people need eye care but are unable to afford it. This experience reinforced what I’m learning that as a health care professional. It was a great feeling to be able to share my knowledge and skills with people in need within the community,” said Delecke.
Optical lenses and frames were donated by HOYA Vision Care Co of South Windsor, Precision/PrefRx Optical of East Hartford, Encore-Nikon Optical of South Windsor and McLeod Optical Company of Warwick, RI. Meals and refreshments were donated by John Passacantando from The Public Market of Middletown and the Connecticut Opticians Association.