Today was Day 3 of the Eye on Diabetes campaign in Ohio, and many patients in need were happy to receive free eye care, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure. We recently caught up with two more integral people behind the campaign in Columbus, VSP employee Sharon Hollis and Shelli Shaver, RN to learn more about Eye on Diabetes.
Sharon Hollis, customer care manager, VSP Eastern Operations Center in Columbus
Q: What was your role in the campaign events?
Sharon: “I served in a couple roles. I had the privilege of checking patients in, and helped them understand what to expect on the clinic. I also had the opportunity to manage the dispensary, by helping patients select frames, making sure the frames were a good fit for them, satisfied their visual need, and that the prescription and frames were compatible. It was also having some fun with them, helping them pick out a frame design they really liked. It was a lot of fun and a huge privilege to do this today.”
Q: Why is the campaign important to the community and Columbus?
Sharon: “In general, the Eye on Diabetes campaign really promotes a healthy lifestyle and utilizing a cost-effective way to learn more about an individual’s overall health through an eye exam. ForColumbusspecifically, I’m a native ofColumbus, and just knowing that we have some economic struggles here in this city, this is a fantastic program to help folks who have been hit hard by the economy, are uninsured or underinsured, it’s a fantastic way to help. We also have issues with obesity and diabetes in this city, so anything we can do as an organization to help promote care and healthy living, plus how to manage a disease, it really helps the overall lives of our citizens here. In turn, if we have a healthy community and a healthy group of citizens, it really helps the overall outlook for our city, how folks can prosper, how folks can be fit for work, and those types of things.”
Q: Why is it important to make the connection between eye health and general health?
Sharon: “I think the connection is that in order to be healthy, you have to have a good diet, good exercise and good access to care, and knowing what your body is telling you. You can do that through a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis, and just knowing what your health is and how you can manage these things. One really good way of managing that is to work with a VSP doctor.
Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering your time to help those in need?
Sharon: “I think that through the Mobile Clinics program and the Eye on Diabetes campaign, it’s a couple of things. I meet such a diverse group of people, including doctors, optometry students, other volunteers, and the patients were helping the citizens in this city of really understanding more about what’s happening in the community. On a personal level, getting to work so closely with other VSP employees is such a fun experience. You work hard, but it is so, so rewarding and being able to do that with your coworkers from all over the country is a really nice way to connect.”
Shelli Shaver, nurse
Q: What is your role with the campaign?
Shelli: “My role with the Eye on Diabetes events is to assess finger stick blood sugar levels and blood pressure of the patients we see, plus providing basic education for hypertension and diabetes-related eye problems and how they can be prevented.”
Q: What is the connection between eye care and the health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure?
Shelli: “The health risk assessments allow us to determine if a person has undiagnosed diabetes or hypertension. Early detection of these diseases leads to early treatment which can help prevent eye related complications.”
Q: What’s your favorite part of participating in the campaign?
Shelli: “My favorite part is being bale to help patients who might otherwise not be able to get an eye exam or medical care for an undiagnosed medical condition.”
Q: What advice do you have for people with high blood pressure or high blood glucose levels?
Shelli: “My advice for people with high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels is to get immediate medical attention and remain compliant with the recommendations given to them by their healthcare provider. Many complications can be prevented by maintaining blood pressure and blood glucose levels within normal range.
Read more interviews from the Eye on Diabetes campaign this week in Ohio here: