Envisioning accessible eye care

For Dr. Edmund Tsui, BMSc’10, access to eye care and proper vision screening is an integral part of health and patient care.

And the vision screening program he developed in collaboration with the Good Neighbor Health Clinic in White River Junction, Vermont, works to streamline the process for uninsured American patients.

“For me, seeing patients that have never received any eye care is really rewarding,” said Dr. Tsui. “Being able to provide eye care and glasses really impacts quality of life and also helps to prevent potentially blinding diseases.”

Patients that sign up for the program are given screening questionnaires, eye exams and glasses free of charge. The student-led clinic also provides referrals for higher-level care, if needed.

Dr. Tsui completed his bachelor of medical sciences at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in 2010 with an honors specialization in physiology. He graduated this June from Dartmouth Medical School.

“It was an interesting perspective coming from Canada and a system of universal health care, to the United States where not everyone has insurance,” said Dr. Tsui. “There are significant amount of people who are underserved and uninsured.”

An Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in 2011 helped Dr. Tsui launch the program with a fellow classmate. It is now funded through the Good Neighbor Health Clinic and operated by volunteer medical students.

By working with the clinic’s established patient base, the vision program was able to easily connect with the community in need and spread the word about its services.

Initially, operating twice per month, the clinic’s popularity among uninsured patients soon expanded the program to a weekly service.

Dr. Tsui is starting a residency in ophthalmology at New York University in 2015, after completing a surgical internship year at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire.

The vision screening program he started continues to be a success with the next set of student leaders.

“A major strength of the program is the opportunities for medical students to work in the community,” he said. “I’m proud that we’re involved and making a difference.”