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Optometry Students and Staff Offer Expertise through Students in Need Eyecare Program

Ferris State UniversityMore than 60 students from the Fremont Public and Hesperia Community school districts were welcomed to Ferris State University’s University Eye Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the latest offering of the Students in Need Eyecare program, which is funded by the Gerber Foundation.

Dr. Sarah Hinkley, a professor in Ferris’ Michigan College of Optometry, said SINE is a partnership with the Fremont Lions Club, which benefits the school children, as well as third-and fourth-year MCO students.

“The visiting students were identified by teachers and administrators, in their schools, as having needs and lacking access to eye care,” Hinkley said. “We are able to offer a comprehensive eye exam with our students as examiners and MCO faculty volunteering their time as supervisors. Those students who require prescription eyewear will have the opportunity to select their frames with the Gerber Foundation taking on all costs not covered by insurance. We take the glasses to these children around Dec. 1. Our opticians see that they are properly fitted for each student.”

The outreach program was hosted in the Dow Interactive Eye Center, on the third floor of the MCO building. Hinkley said SINE offers the MCO students a chance to give back to the community while learning the process of offering pediatric examinations.

“Our MCO students were excited to apply classroom concepts to patient care,” Hinkley said. “It is a powerful experience for them, and it benefits children from our community. The students from Fremont and Hesperia were able to enjoy a meal on campus and visit the Card Wildlife Center. For many of them, it was like a field trip – their first opportunity to visit a college or university.”

SINE is only one of a number of ways MCO students are able to engage in service learning opportunities, which provides them clinical experience, while providing care that can change the lives of those receiving those services.

PHOTO CAPTION: Students from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University offered eye examinations to youngsters from the Fremont Public and Hesperia Community school systems on Thursday, Nov. 9. This was the latest offering of the Students in Need Eyecare, or SINE program.