Stories of Impact

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Mobile Eve Van Provides Free Eye Care, Glasses, to Children in Ambridge

2023.03.01 Mobile EyeVan 005

The Guerilla Eye Service traveled to Ambridge, Pennsylvania, earlier this summer to provide free pediatric eye exams using the new mobile “EyeVan.” The event prescribed and ordered 21 pairs of glasses for children who would otherwise have difficulty accessing or affording them.

Led by Dr. Evan Waxman, director of UPMC Mercy Hospital’s Eye Center, the Guerilla Eye Service (GES) is a group of volunteer eye doctors and University of Pittsburgh medical students who provide free eye exams and vision screenings in underserved Pittsburgh communities. The program began expanding its reach earlier this year, after the Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh and UPMC Mercy received a mobile health van from Brother’s Brother Foundation. Stocked with the same equipment in a typical ophthalmology office, the mobile clinic allows doctors to provide patients with high-quality care on-site.

GES held the Ambridge clinic in collaboration with UPMC’s Care Mobile, a van that provides pediatric immunizations, well visits, dental care, and asthma care; and Center for Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides food, clothing, and youth programs to under-resourced families in the area.

The eye exams and glasses provided at the clinic helped remove barriers to accessing health care in Ambridge, and, in doing so, made significant impacts on children’s physical health and educational growth. One patient, for instance, arrived at the clinic with congenital ptosis, a droopy eyelid that, when left untreated, can interfere with visual development, eventually leading to irreversible vision loss. Doctors diagnosed the patient and can now save the child’s vision.  

The Ambridge health clinic marked GES’s third mobile clinic using the EyeVan.

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