Home Walmart/Sams Club Community ODs Community Activism Keeps OD Inspired

Community Activism Keeps OD Inspired

When people think of Peru, Madagascar and Fiji, they often think about the exotic landscape, delicious food and warm waters. However, these beautiful places lack something important: accessible eye care for those in more rural areas. Kara Fedders, OD, of Colorado Springs Eyecare, an independent practice next to a Walmart in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has seen this need in each of these places during various outreach initiatives, and she strives to do something about it.

She is highly active in the numerous charitable organizations and currently serves as the president of the Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (VOSH) Colorado, as well as working with the Colorado Springs Lions Club. Through VOSH/International, she has had the opportunity to visit Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Madagascar and Fiji and has provided accessible eye care and eyeglasses to those who need it but have little or no access in their communities.

“I was amazed that the patients often walked miles and waited hours for eye care and eyeglasses,” she says of those she helped during her trips. She and other ODs provide eye exams, diagnoses and prescription lenses to anyone who needs them- and, often, it can change the patient’s life. “It is amazing to see the look on a patient’s face when they can see their family clearly for the first time,” she says.

RECONNECTING TO THEIR LIVELIHOOD

Dr. Fedders tells of some of the women in many of the villages she has provided care to. “Most of them sew clothes, and that is how they contribute to their society,” she says. “If they can’t see well enough to thread a needle, they may lose their sense of worth in their community.”

Dr. Fedders on a mission trip.

She says she can often hear the joy in the patient’s voice when they receive what they need, even if they speak a different language. Their smiles and delight at seeing the world around them clearly are certain indicators. “It’s very rewarding,” she says.

Dr. Fedders’ practice accepts eyeglass and sunglass donations that the volunteer teams can distribute during the trips. Some of the donations come via a local casino’s lost and found box, which gets cleaned out every other month. “It doesn’t matter where they come from,” she says of the eyewear, which is cleaned and sorted for distribution. “These eyeglasses can light up someone else’s world.” Anyone can drop donations inside her practice at their convenience.

BALANCING PRACTICE AND PHILANTHROPY

As a busy practice owner, Dr. Fedders also prioritizes the time to volunteer as much as she can. She says having an independent practice next to a Walmart Vision Center is a great option for her. Dr. Fedders is able to focus on patient care rather than some of the administrative duties of she would have if she also had to focus on running a full-service optical. “Being next to a Walmart Vision Center is such a great option for me,” she says. “It is really nice simply focusing on providing great care to my patients.”

Dr. Fedders started her independent practice next to this Walmart Vision Center 22 years ago and has since impacted the lives of thousands both inside and outside the practice. Dr. Fedders enjoys fitting contact lenses, especially specialty contacts, and has been building a dry eye clinic, an important element in the dry mountain climate and enjoys adding innovative products and diagnostics. Plus, she co-manages surgical patients as well as letting the community know she is available for emergencies.

She is well known in the community for her efforts to reach out to people in need. A section of her independent practice website is dedicated to her outreach and charity initiatives.  “Even looking back at the photos of those we helped keeps me motivated,” she says. “We have to remember how fortunate we are to live in a place where healthcare is accessible.”

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Larger Space Keeps OD Organized and Patients Happy

When Janet M. Wilson, OD, FCOVD, opened her first practice in 2014, she thought she had found her “forever” workspace. Bella Vision Family Vision Care...

Six Women Among Winners of 2022 Eyecare Business Game Changer Awards

Ten winners were selected as 2022 Eyecare Business (EB) Game Changer Awardees, all of whom are respected optometrists or opticians who delivered support, guidance...

Offering Aesthetic Services and Treating Dry Eye: Fit Together Like Hand in Glove

By Selina Mcgee, OD, FAAO I came into practicing aesthetics a bit by accident, unexpectedly building this beloved pillar of my practice. I was frustrated...