PORTLAND -- A Portland optometrist had her eye on a problem in the immigrant community and answered with free eye exams.
“I took some time off after I graduated to travel and seeing how people live their lives in other countries really hit me," explained Dr. Summy To.
She now goes to the Asian family center once a month in Northeast Portland to examine the eyes of Portland’s refugee community.
"There's vision of seeing clearly but there's also vision of connection and seeing the world for what it is," she said.
Eighty to 100 immigrants and refugees come to Portland every month. Many have never had an eye exam.
"They have cultural barriers, language barriers so this is a safe environment for them. It can dramatically increase the quality of their lives,”” remarked Pei-Ru Wang who works to provide health care for the immigrant and refugee community.
Yesenia Silva knows improving her vision will help in her job at an assisted living facility.
“I don’t know what I would do without her. I couldn’t afford to pay for this out of pocket,” said Silva as she finished her exam.
Dr. To’s three-part exam would usually cost about 95 dollars. Patients get a basic vision test, muscle testing and a check of their eye health.
"I'm just making sure all the tissue looks healthy and making sure there’s no masses growing in the back of the eye," said Dr. To while conducting an exam while using a headlamp.
About half of the refugee patients will need a free follow up in Dr. To's office at Myoptic Optometry where she also collects glasses.
Donate glasses: myoptic optometry
"We'll take the frames and clean them up and put new lenses in them so any eye wear that you're not using please give it to us and we promise they'll go to good people,” she said.
Dr. To started the clinics about three months ago through the immigrant and refugee community organization. Monday she treated patients from a dozen countries offering each a chance to see their world more clearly.
"Sometimes people have serious follow up and she's willing to donate her time and resources and really help us to truly help the community," concluded Pei-Ru Wang.