Since its inception, Luxottica’s OneSight program has helped over 16 million people in 46 countries. As an organization dedicated to bringing sustainable vision care solutions to communities around the world, OneSight’s goal in 2020 is to provide ongoing access to vision care to over 20 million people.
The global vision care crisis affects over one billion people, and an eye exam and a proper pair of glasses could restore the vision of many of those affected. OneSight and its volunteers are committed to eradicating the global vision care crisis by traveling to locations in North America and around the world to provide care and services to underserved populations whose lack of access to eye care is often due to availability, location, and the high cost of medical care.
Luxottica operates as OneSight’s founding global sponsor, providing support in numerous ways, including supplies, eyewear, partnerships with local health organizations, governments, school districts, industry leaders, doctors, and countless volunteers to make this possible. Another part of Luxottica’s commitment to OneSight involves providing optometry students the opportunity to participate in these efforts.
In June of 2020, OneSight will travel to Leech Lake Reservation, in the north-central area of Minnesota. This is the fourth year that Luxottica and OneSight have opened this opportunity to participate in a clinic to students, marking the fifth OneSight Student Clinic.
To date, OneSight Student Clinics have visited:
- 2019 – Campeche, Mexico
- 2018 – Oaxaca, Mexico (2)
- 2017 – Tanzania
Fifteen optometry students representing various graduation years across 13 optometry schools were selected to participate in OneSight this year. Students are chosen using a variety of criteria including a personal essay. On the OneSight trip, these students under the supervision of Luxottica-affiliated doctors will perform comprehensive exams and support a core team of Luxottica volunteers in optical fitting, manufacturing and dispensing.
This year’s OneSight Student Participants include:
- Aaliyah Cole, Southern College of Optometry
- Melissa Levine, State University of New York College of Optometry
- Stephanie De la Matta, Inter American University of Puerto Rico
- Nicole Everett, New England College of Optometry
- Madeline Gianandrea, Midwestern University
- Austin Mason, NOVA Southeastern University
- Linda Tannous, Western University of Health Sciences
- Manzil Quadir, University of Houston
- Eliza Seros, Southern College of Optometry
- Rebecca Stapornkul, University of California Berkeley
- Jaclyn Tolles, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
- Kelsey Trast, University of Houston
- Chris Valliere, University of Houston
- Richard Wan, The Ohio State University
- Maggie Yamin, Indiana University
Why does Luxottica provide these opportunities to students?
Luxottica offers OneSight opportunities to optometry students for several core reasons.
First and foremost, OneSight presents students with the opportunity to give back to underserved communities by providing eye care expertise. OneSight also enables students to learn more about the global vision crisis and the role eyecare professionals must play.
“I hope students will take advantage of this opportunity to broaden both their optometric skills and their view of the global vision crisis and their role in helping alleviate it.”
Dr. Weslie Hamada, Senior Director of OD Engagement at Luxottica Eye Care
OneSight clinics also give students the chance to broaden their optometric skills and gain valuable clinical experience by exposing them to a large volume of patients with many different types of refractive and ocular conditions. The patient encounters students will have throughout these OneSight Clinics may be more than some of them will have in a year’s worth of rotations! This experience is invaluable when it comes to developing skills as a young clinician.
“These clinics allow students to gain valuable clinical experience in a short amount of time. The experience also connects them to the larger optometric community they’ll be joining when they graduate, and highlights how their skills can contribute to helping combat the world vision crisis.”
Dr. Carl Spear, Senior Vice President of Luxottica Eye Care
Finally, OneSight gives students the chance to impact the lives of many, and to continue making this impact not only globally but within their own local communities. After working with OneSight, many students express a desire to continue providing service-oriented optometry. Programs like OneSight can motivate much-needed support, interest, and involvement in charitable programs by giving students both an outlet for their drive to help others, and the knowledge to look for other projects with which they can get involved.
Optometry student Astineey Franklin shares her experience attending OneSight 2019 and why students need to get involved
I attended the OneSight clinic in 2019 in Campeche, Mexico, and it completely changed my perspective on what it means to serve and provide the gift of sight. I got involved in OneSight after shadowing a doctor who worked for Luxottica, who informed me about the program. I was interested in getting involved, giving back to society the best way I could, and enhancing my clinical skills and experience.
When I decided to pursue optometry, I knew that giving back was embedded in my personal mission and life goals. Since I started optometry school and started seeing patients, I strive every day to give a piece of myself to my patients. Being able to help as much as we can with visual deficiencies is really how you embody the passion of OneSight. Only one person from each school was selected, so it really felt special that I was selected to represent my optometry school.
I saw OneSight as a great opportunity to immerse myself in this mission and felt blessed when I learned I had been selected to participate in OneSight through an article press release on NewGradOptometry.
The OneSight experience
My first thought when sitting down to pack my bags for OneSight was I wanted to pack as many goodies for the kids as I could possibly fit in my bag. We could only bring one checked bag so I had to be strategic in packing what I needed.
I was really looking forward to meeting other students who I would be working with. I really enjoy meeting new people and some of the relationships that I forged with other students while at OneSight have been some of the most important relationships I have made in optometry school.
When I arrived at the clinic, I had to prepare myself for a typical day.
My days would begin by waking up at 6:00am, eating breakfast, and starting to see patients by 8:00am. We would see patients until about 6:00 or 7:00pm. Each day our clinic saw about 500-800 patients. While I did not examine all of these patients, I had an opportunity to interact with many of them in one form or another. We provided complete exams, including case history, triage, ocular health assessment, refraction: you name it!
The positive energy and vibrant atmosphere inside the clinic were overwhelming. Everyone in attendance had a constant smile on their face and the patients were so kind to us. The children, especially teenagers, thought that we were celebrities. It was a tremendous and surreal outpouring of love.
It was amazing just how truly grateful and thankful these patients were to have us there, providing care to them. Many of them would never have access to eyecare otherwise. It makes you realize just how much we have and how fortunate we are in life.
I will never forget the encounter I had with a young woman who looked at some of the most simple earrings I have, and told me how much she really liked them and how pretty they were. I removed my earrings, cleaned them off with some alcohol and gave them to her. The expression and thankfulness on her face will forever be etched in my memory.
Naturally, there were sad cases and interactions as well. I saw my first case of congenital glaucoma at OneSight. Unfortunately, this case had progressed to a severe stage, but fortunately, with OneSight and their access to referral centers, we were able to get this patient into a place where she could obtain the proper care she needed.
What makes OneSight unique is that this trip was more than just about providing care to these people: it was about bonding with them on a deeper level. Every day our group of volunteers would plan some type of dance to entertain patients while they waited. We did the Macarena, Cha-Cha Slide, Wobble, you name it! We united with these patients through the power of music and dance. It was truly unforgettable.
You can expect to be tired after the trip—and for good reason. It is a lot of work, but the exhaustion that I felt was an exhaustion that left me feeling content. I knew that I was giving over 100% every day, and although each day I left the clinic feeling tired, the pure energy in the clinic is what really rejuvenated me every day.
When I came back from the trip and returned to optometry school, I returned with an even higher level of gratitude. My goal was to always work and provide care to an underserved community, and this trip not only gave me an opportunity to do so but also helped me realize just how important opportunities like this are.
I had the opportunity to meet and work alongside 15 other optometry students, and I stay in contact with them regularly. Additionally, many of the Luxottica affiliated doctors and staff became and have remained friends.
For any students who are contemplating getting involved in OneSight or some other kind of mission trip, I can’t recommend the experience enough. I guarantee that every participant will gain a better appreciation for all that we have and what we do as future eye doctors. I came from an underserved community and being able to provide care to those who need it is just an incredible feeling.