New UC San Diego EyeMobile hits the streets to serve low-income families

By City News Service

Dr. Joyce Medina does an eye exam on Jessica, a 6th grade student at the Monarch School in Barrio Logan. 45 students from the school were given a new pair of eye glasses following their exams. San Diego, CA, March 16, 2022.

A new UC San Diego Shiley EyeMobile for Children hit the roads Wednesday, driving to schools in San Diego County to serve low-income families in need of eye exams.

The EyeMobile is a 33-foot-long furnished recreational vehicle with two exam rooms, as well as a waiting area for children and families. It also has a television for the children to watch while they wait for their exam and a wall area with a selection of eye frames.

The new vehicle, part of a program of UCSD Health, was funded by an estate gift from a former patient. It is scheduled to visit around 250 preschools this coming year in underserved areas at no cost to families. It replaces the previous EyeMobile that had been in service for nearly 15 years.

“The families we serve do not have another way to access eye exams,” said Iliana Molina, director of the EyeMobile program. “Some don’t even have transportation and others must decide between getting milk or getting eyeglasses for their kids.

“The new EyeMobile will allow us to continue providing a critical service to families. When children can see, they are able to learn, which then expands the educational opportunities for under-represented students,” she said.

The new vehicle is intended to help achieve the program’s long-term goal of providing eye care services to 20,000 underserved, low-income children per year.

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