AVOP provides ocular care to nearly 300 patients in need during free two-day clinic

A team from the West Virginia University Eye Institute recently provided ocular care to nearly 300 patients in need through a free clinic hosted by the Appalachian Vision Outreach Program (AVOP). The clinic was held over two days from April 25-26 at West Virginia Health Right in Charleston.

AVOP is a WVU Eye Institute outreach program that hosts free eye clinics across the state to provide ocular care to patients in need, regardless of economic or geographic barriers. The program is led by WVU Eye Institute Director of Outreach, Rebecca Coakley, MA, CLVT.

The clinic saw a substantial turnout of 284 patients from Kanawha and the surrounding counties over the two days. Patients in attendance received full eye exams from a WVU Eye Institute ophthalmologist, consultations with opticians and glasses fittings. A total of 207 pairs of glasses were ordered for patients, which AVOP will distribute to patients once they are manufactured.

This event not only addressed immediate needs, but also led to the diagnosis of various conditions for further treatment, including 25 cataract cases, two glaucoma cases, two diabetic retinopathy cases, and one unexplained vision loss case. Each patient diagnosed with a condition for further treatment received a referral for a follow-up appointment at the WVU Eye Institute.

Coakley emphasized the importance of these clinics, saying they provide patients with care they would otherwise not receive and prevent the worsening of any ocular conditions that could lead to vision loss or hospitalization if left untreated.

"If it weren’t for AVOP these patients would never be seen and receive the care they desperately need,” Coakley said. “These clinics are a proactive approach in keeping West Virginians safe and cared for, and I hope we can continue to serve people in need across the state through future clinics."

To learn more about the outreach programs at the WVU Eye Institute and Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, visit medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/eye/outreach.