Clinic Blog: 2011 Richmond Clinic Blog
October 20, 2011
The Richmond Children
On Monday, I met Gabriel and Esme at the color blindness testing station, both of whom had at least 20/100. Esme likes drawing and wants the world to be “peaceful”. Even though she thought the tonometer felt weird, Esme felt that the stereopsis test was the most fun of all the stations because it was “like a cartoon”. When Dr. Mark used the ophthalmoscope on her to see the back of the eye, Esme felt that was “creepy” the way he could see inside her head. Sitting with Dr. Carol at the Phoropter, she liked putting on the big pair of glasses, but thought the letters seemed “kind of fuzzy”. She said “I don’t want glasses” because they seem weird. I explained to her how important my glasses were to me when I was her age and how they will help her with school.
Gabriel likes to play video games and soccer. His friends think he is funny and he wants to be a pilot when he grows up. He said he has a Jack Russell terrier named Cornelius who “loves to eat”. He said he can’t see well with his right eye. Stereopsis was great and the most fun. He was “like whoa” with the puffer machine and he says to tell other kids to “look out for the eye drops because they sting”.
Gabriel had lots of questions. When told that the ophthalmoscope could see the blood vessels and nerves in the back of the eye, he wanted to know “is it kind of squishy?” Dr. Mark said it was kind of like jello. He peppered Dr. Damon with questions like “How many lenses do you have?” and “How do you switch the slide” on the Phoropter machine and “What are the red/green colors for?” Dr. Damon told him that he needed to wear his glasses all the time.
While sitting with Gabriel, Esme and the doctors, I couldn’t believe how ecstatic I felt when the students could correctly read the bottom line. Esme said she understood that glasses would help her to see and she realized how important that was when she was with Dr. Carol.
On Tuesday, I started out in Visual Acuity, the first station. In addition to performing the eye exams, this afforded me a chance to immediately identify some students that I could interview.
DeVonte is in the 10th grade and has worn glasses since the 1st grade, however, they were broken last year. Of the dilation drops, DeVonte said they hurt more than it usually does and thought that maybe they numb you more at the “other” eye doctor’s. He said that one of our doctors noted that his left eye was damaged. He complimented us by saying everything here was nice and organized and there weren’t any kids running around.
Ronika said of the tonometer, “it can’t be scaring people like that!”
Arlette was a Spanish student who spoke very little English. I worked with her in visual acuity and, because of the language barrier, I was able to get a feel for what an International mission must experience. Daryn, a friend of Arlette’s, “liked the puffer” machine.
Asia pointed out that “I have to do like this to look at my papers at school” and she holds a piece of paper really close to her eyes. The “puffer” station was her favorite station – she thought it was fun. Her mother forgot Asia would be here today so when she comes home with new glasses, her Mom will be shocked. When asked how she felt about new glasses, she said “This will help because I won’t have to struggle with my eyes.”
Chad dropped his glasses and a little boy picked them up, ran off with them and broke them. He’s been having trouble with school ever since. He said frame selection was awesome because he got to choose what he wanted and he didn’t expect that.
Jaquin is a 5th grader who has never had glasses before. After frame selection, he mentioned that he was “excited about getting glasses”. When I asked why, he said so he didn’t have to walk up to the front of the class to see the board and get yelled at by his teacher for moving out of his seat. Jaquin said of the OneSight program “it’s a good thing that we’re helping because many students can’t see”.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting 8th graders, Kayla, Lakima and Jasmine and they all told me that they had problems seeing in school. Lakima said that her favorite station was the auto refractor and said she has to “squint my eyes real hard” in order to see the board at school. Her prescription was -350 OD and -400 OS. Jasmine liked the stereopsis test and said that she tries to get close to the board and still can’t see. She had glasses before but “they weren’t strong enough”.
I saw 13 year old Daqwan when he came to my auto refractor line and scored a -16 OD and -19 OS and thought he would make a good subject to interview. Turns out, Darla and Leslie already knew Daqwan personally. Leslie has provided him with a few pairs of glasses over the past 3 years at previous clinics. It was nice that they could make these glasses here with EyeVan and give them to him tomorrow, as opposed to taking a long time to get shipped back. They were both genuinely pleased to see him and to find out how he was doing. Leslie and Darla cared about Daqwan, similar to the way a primary care doctor would be concerned about a patient.
I would like to give kudos to the core team and volunteers. Everyone picks up on their stations so quickly and interacts extremely well with the children. The team as a whole was keeping the pace upbeat and interesting for the kids. Plus, a lot of you seem to have degrees in child psychology because of the way you "keep the peace" regardless of whether the children are nervous, scared, or very excited.