History: Working toward "Vision for All"
project Eye Care
Vision for All was established in 1996. Its first program, Project Eye Care, was launched that year in Rochester, New York, focusing on high-risk, elderly and medically underserved persons in inner city and rural communities. Eliminating barriers to access by offering community-based services, itinerant teams of ophthalmologists, allied health professionals and various volunteer support staff provided comprehensive eye examinations at twenty-five service sites, including community centers, senior housing complexes, homeless shelters, churches, and health fairs, with referrals made to appropriate institutions for follow-up care. (Project Eye Care continues today under the auspices of ABVI of Greater Rochester.)
Nevis Eye Care Program
VFA established an eye care program on the island of Nevis, West Indies, in 1996. There were no eye clinics on the island; the population relied on occasional visiting ophthalmologists. For the past 20 years VFA has run bi-annual clinics on Nevis, working with local medical and public health personnel, providing education, training and technical assistance to ensure sustainability of the program. A full range of services is provided, including screening clinics, refraction and eyeglass dispensing services, medical care for glaucoma and other chronic eye diseases, laser treatment as part of a diabetic retinopathy surveillance program, and cataract and pterygium surgery.
Greater Boston Glaucoma Screening program
From May 2002-April 2003, Vision for All, with the support of the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation, initiated the Greater Boston Glaucoma Screening Program. Its purpose was to detect glaucoma at an early treatable stage by screening populations at high risk for glaucoma in community settings. The glaucoma screening was performed by teams of public health eye care specialists, targeting community sites in the African American, Caribbean and Hispanic neighborhoods of the Greater Boston Area. People needing follow-up care were referred to local public eye clinics or to ophthalmologists in the area who agreed to see patients regardless of ability to pay.
Community-based Berrie diabetic retinopathy screening program
From 2005-2007 VFA helped establish a diabetic retinopathy screening program for the predominately Dominican community of New York City’s Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. The program was conducted under the auspices of the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University School of Medicine and funded in part by the Berrie Foundation. Diabetic retinopathy screening was provided on-site at a number of community facilities, and a telemedicine-based retinopathy screening program was established in the General Medicine Clinic at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.