Tower Health Street Medicine program launches mobile eye clinic

Tower Health Medical Group now offers a mobile eye clinic for patients in the Street Medicine Program. The new service began in late September and provides a screening eye exam for patients as well as facilitating access to follow-up care including formal eye exams, glasses, or corrective surgeries.

Patients can schedule an appointment or receive walk-in care. In the first two eye screenings six patients were evaluated and two individuals were diagnosed with potentially vision threatening glaucoma and medical treatment has been initiated.

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The screening exam is not a substitute for a formal eye exam but may include a discussion of personal and family health history, discussion of warning signs associated with eye health, color blindness screening, field of vision screening, glaucoma screening, check of the retinas, or visual acuity changes.

“This is a program that we’ve wanted to implement for some time,” said Tower Health internal medicine physician Eugene York, MD, founder of the Street Medicine program and a clinical associate professor at Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health.

“Years ago, we had a patient who had bilateral cataracts and couldn’t see very well. As a result, the patient tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell. That story stayed with me for many years because it could have been easily fixed. We have also, unfortunately, had patients who have permanently lost their vision because of a disease that could have been treated. We want to provide this important service to our patients, so others don’t needlessly suffer from vision problems.”

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The three most common causes of blindness in the United States are glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration. All three of these vision problems can be screened for and potentially treated when identified early.

The mobile screening eye clinic of the Tower Health Medical Group Street Medicine Program has included Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health medical students who perform screenings. The program collaborates with the Faith Care Eye Clinic in North Reading directed by volunteer ophthalmologist Y. Katherine Hu, MD, MS.

“Our Street Medicine Program is so successful and has been able to expand the services they provide to our patients because of the generosity of our community,” said Katherine Thornton, Reading Hospital Foundation President. “We are so appreciative of the 245 individuals who have donated to the program, allowing our team members to provide increased access to care to those in need.”

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