Home Opticians An Emergency Frame Repair Led to an Organized Outreach Effort

An Emergency Frame Repair Led to an Organized Outreach Effort

traveling optician bethany shaw
Bethany Shaw

A traveling optician? About a year ago, a local school nurse called Vision Source in Meadville, the practice of Christopher Adsit, OD, to say that one of the students broke their eyeglasses and asked if the practice could help. “I’m the person in the office that people turn to when something breaks,” says Bethany Shaw, optician.

“I did repair those eyeglasses, but I came back to the office and said, ‘There are a lot more people who need our help.’” Dr. Adsit agreed and encouraged her to reach out to schools and nursing homes, places where it’s not easy for people to come into the office for simple repairs.

These days, Shaw spends two or three Thursdays of each month visiting schools or nursing homes to adjust eyewear and fix frames. She schedules these visits on days when one doctor, not both, are in the office seeing patients. That makes her absence easier for the rest of the staff, too.

“I bring spare frames so that if I cannot fix the frames, I might be able to put the lenses into another pair,” she says. “I also have some equipment, such as a heater, so that I can make frame adjustments.” She also brings cleaning cloths, a spray bottle and a case for anyone who needs it.

NO COST

Some of the stories are quite dramatic. “I saw one high school student whose lenses are a super thick, lined bifocal. She walks with a cane because her vision is impaired even with best corrected vision. Her eyeglasses were so crooked, so I spent some time lining up her bifocal and fixing the frames. She said it felt like a new pair, which she hadn’t had in a long time,” Shaw recalls. The grateful student asked if she could give Shaw a hug—an also help her brother whose frames were completely broken. “I was able to put his lenses into a different frame. These are simple things, but it changes everything for that person.”

Repairs, cleanings and adjustments are all made at not cost to the people receiving the service. “It’s solely to help people. The people in nursing homes or the little kids may not be able to make it into the office, and when I go in and see that their eyeglasses are crooked on their face, I help the best that I can,” she says.

Bethany Shaw sets up in a classroom where she fixes students' eyewear.
Optician Bethany Shaw on-site in a school. Students come to her to get their eyeglasses repaired or adjusted. Photos courtesy of Bethany Shaw/Vision Source of Meadville

Some people have heard that the practice offers these services and have made contributions. It’s not a marketing outreach, but the word does spread. “If someone asks a school nurse to make a recommendation for an eye doctor, that nurse may remember that we have come in to support the students,” she says. “Other times, new patients might say that we fixed their mother’s eyeglasses in the nursing home.”

OFFICE MORALE

Shaw says that her co-workers are curious about her experiences when she returns. “We have the kind of office where everyone encourages everyone else, so we all feel good when we can help people.”

It doesn’t surprise Shaw that employees get along well and are aligned in the practice mission. She was hired four years ago with no experience in optical. “I worked in retail in a grocery store, and I came in for an eye exam.  They were hiring, and they liked my personality,” she says. She used Vision Source resources to get her training. “We do a lot of training using Vision Source Learning and hands-on training,” she says.

She loves the encouraging atmosphere that the practice provides. “I’m blessed to be able to work in a place that encourages us to be the best we can be.”

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