Uninsured patients get eye exams, glasses from Mason nonprofit

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 19:10:59-04

Happy tears are a daily feature of Daniele Cangemi’s job — and Thursday, when the OneSight mobile vision clinic parked outside Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, was no exception.

Mason-based OneSight travels all over the world to provide basic optometry services for people who can’t afford to see a doctor on their own. On Thursday, Cangemi helped translate as refugees, immigrants and under- or uninsured people in Cincinnati underwent eye exams for the first time in months, years or even lifetimes.

“Sometimes, I have people coming to the clinic wearing glasses that are either broken or glasses that they borrowed from a neighbor,” he said. “They put the (right) glasses on, they start to cry, because it’s the first time they can see their family members, their kids.”

Vision care adds more to patients’ lives than convenience, he added. Without it, people struggle to read, learn and work. Untreated vision problems can box otherwise healthy adults out of being able to participate fully in society and keep children from receiving an education.

Giovanna Alvarez, director of Cincinnati’s Su Casa Hispanic Center, said she saw patients get life-changing information at Thursday’s clinic alone.

“There was a little boy that had a tumor in the eye, and he was not aware of that,” she said. “There was a lady named Mercedes also ... they had detected cancer.”

Finding out early could save both patients’ sight.

“God bless you,” one patient said through Cangemi. “God bless everybody.”