COVID-19 severely impacted the ability for the UC San Diego Shiley EyeMobile for Children to travel in the community to see youngsters around San Diego in the school locations. During the initial closure of schools, the EyeMobile was transformed into a mobile triage unit stationed in front of the Shiley Eye Institute and staffed by optometrists in full personal protective equipment. The doctors were able to examine patients that were suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms which allowed the Shiley clinic to remain available by limiting exposure to our other patients.
While the EyeMobile was being utilized as a triage unit, the staff completed comprehensive compliance calls to all of the families of children who wear glasses. Unfortunately, it was evident that many of the children had left their glasses in their closed classrooms. Therefore, the EyeMobile team quickly swung into action by replacing all of those glasses that were left behind. The parents were followed up with and given further information on the importance of wearing glasses and their children’s development.
We are happy to report that COVID-19 didn’t completely close down the EyeMobile. In the summer, the EyeMobile began scheduled visits to various cities in the county maintaining our mission - that all children have access to high quality vision care. The fact that children are not attending school in classrooms does not mean they do not need the EyeMobile services. Although a different model, the EyeMobile is continuing to provide no cost exams and glasses to children ages 3-14 in community locations around San Diego County.
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