HFC Ophthalmic Program students assist in providing free eye exams for veterans, community

Photo courtesy of Henry Ford College. Zaenb Alshibil, a Henry Ford College Certified Ophthalmic Technician Program student, checks a patient’s eye pressure.

Photo courtesy of Henry Ford College. Zaenb Alshibil, a Henry Ford College Certified Ophthalmic Technician Program student, checks a patient’s eye pressure.

DEARBORN — Nine externs in Henry Ford College’s Certified Ophthalmic Technician Program assisted five ophthalmologists in providing free eye exams Oct. 31 for people at the Oxford American Legion Walter Fraser Post 108 in Oxford.

Over the course of six hours, the medical professionals examined the vision of vets, their families and community members, screening them for eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and amblyopia. The on-site exams meant the veterans didn’t have to travel to the John D. Dingell Veteran Affairs Medical Center in downtown Detroit.

“The student technicians did the preliminary testing for the examinations and were very well-received by the patients,” HFC COT Program Director Kathy Campbell said. “The students were very excited with the warm reception from the veterans and their families. They’re looking forward to volunteering at another such event in the near future.”

The Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Lourdes J. Aragones Charitable Mission Fund Inc., Rotary Club of Oxford, Life Companions Inc., University Santo Tomas Medical Alumni Association, and Post 108 sponsored the exams.

HFC is the only accredited COT program in the state, and is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs. Upon completion of the program, COT students are eligible to take the national certifying exam sponsored by the Joint Commission of Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.

There are 19 clinical externship sites in southeast Michigan where students have been mentored, Campbell said. HFC has an affiliation agreement with Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

The two-year associate’s degree program began at HFC in 2009. The program admits approximately 20 students per academic year. Currently, there are 18 first-year students and 10 second-year students. Since 2011, 72 students have graduated from the program.

Students combine class time with clinical externships in a variety of clinical sites.

Ophthalmic technicians – especially COTs – are in great demand due to the newest addition of electronic medical records, Campbell said.

For questions or further information, contact Campbell at 313-845-9877 or kacampbell4@hfcc.edu.

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