Vision Screening at Catholic Charities Wellness and Resource Fair

IMG_9761_FotorLast weekend, six other students and I volunteered at the Catholic Charities Wellness and Resource Fair to provide vision screenings to attendees.  Student volunteers were recruited by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) school chapter.

The fair also had volunteers from the University of the Incarnate Word Feik School of Pharmacy.  The pharmacists provided helpful items to organize medication lists, samples of pill containers, and education on differences between ingredients used by compounding pharmacies, among other things.

In addition, several other organizations provided dental screenings and products and blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol measurements.  The vision screenings provided the students opportunities to use their clinical skills in a setting outside of lab or practice hours.



For several of the students, it was their first time performing clinical skills on a patient that was not their classmate, and it was even the first time for many to see cataracts.

Vision screenings are great opportunities to provide services to the local community, especially to many who may not get any type of eye or vision care otherwise.  I highly encourage all students, whether you’re a first year or fourth year, to volunteer at vision screenings as often as you can.  It is wonderful community service, and you can also hone your clinical skills while volunteering.

Vision Screenings – An Inside Look.

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UIWRSO is all about helping the community, especially with vision screenings. Our school gives us the opportunity to start any event with approval from our student affairs office. I have participated in multiple vision screenings and even led a couple myself. Yes, there was paperwork involved, but the documentation ensures the interns’ safety and legitimacy of every event that we partake.

Most of the screenings are local to San Antonio, however there were times when we carpooled to Austin to help out with big health fairs like  the Special Olympics  in Austin (1.5 hours away!)

Local K-12 schools also commonly ask UIWRSO to help with the school mandatory vision screenings or they ask  if RSO students can come to their special events! Metzger Middle School invited us to their Super fitness day!”  Shelia Gibson, a PE teacher from Metzger middle school first contacted Dr. Coates, the UIWRSO Director of Volunteering Services, and requested that UIWRSO students volunteer. If Dr. Coates approves of the event, he will contact the Clinic Coordinator, or vice versa, depending on who was contacted first.

After that, Dr. Coates decides which student org would be most appropriate to help out with an event, and the student leaders of that organization will decided if they want to take on such a screening, group up with another club, or let Dr. Coates know that they can’t make it.

SVOSH was lucky enough to be available to volunteer for this event. The officers then filled out student affair’s paperwork and coordinate with Nathan McCarthy, the Clinic Coordinator to make sure that the right equipment is allocated for that day! Also if the club decides to take on a vision screening, they must find a supervising OD, usually a doctor from UIWRSO who happens to be free at that time and date. The supervising OD does more than just watch the students; this optometrist will have the power to refer patients who did not pass the screening to the UIWRSO Eye Clinic for a full eye exam.

Overall vision screenings are always a fun experience!

Thanks to them, I can gladly say that I can run through a Pediatric screening more efficient than I ever imagined. I have deepened my friendships with many classmates through screenings and  it’s always a pleasure to see my fellow interns out there in the field, working together to help the community, one school at a time!

UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry teams with NISD to provide Eye Examinations to Students

NISD students get help picking out their new glasses from UIW RSO staff.
NISD students get help picking out their new glasses from UIW RSO staff.

San Antonio – On Monday, April 29 and Wednesday, May 1, UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) teamed up with Northside Independent School District (NISD) to provide free eye exams to 60 pre-selected students between the ages of 5 and 9 years who failed their school vision screenings.  These children either did not have vision insurance or the ability to pay for comprehensive eye care. UIWRSO optometry students, under the direction of UIWRSO clinic faculty, provided free eye examinations and the Essilor Vision Foundation provided free frames and lenses.

The students arrived in two groups and quickly made their way through the examination process.  The students were just a little nervous as this was the first eye exam for many of them.  Once they completed the exam they were able to pick out their new glasses.

“This affiliation between the UIWRSO, the NISD, and the Essilor Vision Foundation has made a significant impact in the quality of life of 120 children living in San Antonio. We look forward to conducting examination days at least one day a month in the future. I expect that these examination days to provide the underserved children of San Antonio well over $100,000 worth of free eye care, spectacles, and other forms of treatment annually. Not only does this improve the quality of life of the children receiving the care, we hope that the resultant clear and comfortable vision will improve their performance in school which ultimately provides dividends to the entire community. The UIWRSO is committed to serving the San Antonio community and it is an important value that we instill in all of our students and interns,” said Dr. James Chapman, UIWRSO clinic director.

UIWRSO, NISD, and the Essilor Vision Foundation have formed an affiliation to identify NISD students who require vision care, provide the professional examinations, and then to provide treatment through glasses or whatever modality that is best for the patient.

The UIW Eye Institute is one of seven patient care clinics operated by the Rosenberg School of Optometry. It provides specialty care in its Adult Care, Contact Lens, Ocular Disease, Pediatric, Low Vision, and Vision Therapy Services.  UIWRSO administers a four-year graduate program following a four-year undergraduate degree leading to the Doctor of Optometry degree.


Margaret Garcia
Associate Director of Public Relations
University of the Incarnate Word
Office: (210) 805-3689