InJanuary 2015, I joined the SEVA Foundation on an eye care mission trip to Cambodia. This trip impacted me on several levels. As a doctor, I was deeply touched by the opportunity to help the world’s most vulnerable citizens. Cambodia has been through a tremendous amount of trauma and having the opportunity and ability to help restore vision to those victims has been deeply rewarding. As a woman of Thai decent, I have a personal connection to SE Asia. I was reminded of the struggles my grandmother experienced as she lost her vision. When I was young, my grandmother began to lose her vision. Each time I visited her in Thailand, her vision would have deteriorated, and by the time I was in middle school, she was completely blind. Without awareness of the potential for correction, my family assumed this was a natural part of aging. Slowly, my grandmother became more and more home bound and isolated until she required total care. This experience with my grandmother ignited an appreciation for medicine and patient care, ultimately developing into my professional calling. I knew the things that I was learning would help me help someone like my grandmother. I made a commitment to focus my studies where I could provide preventative medicine, early detection and treatment of eye diseases and founded Eye Department upon graduating. Optometry allows me to challenge my nerd-side by solving complex problems while providing eye care to those in need. This is why Eye Department supports, along with many local nonprofits, the SEVA Foundation, which aims to prevent blindness by preserving and restoring sight to the world’s communities. Dr. Annie Bacon is a member of the Oregon Optometric Society and the American Optometric Association.
Plus we’ve just started the Eye Heart Baby program, a comprehensive infant wellness program for children 0 to 2 years. Solutions for corrective vision can occur at any age. But what about more serious vision conditions like Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye”. Amblyopia occurs when a child’s vision does not develop correctly in one eye and if left uncorrected, becomes permanent because the brain has to compensate. The good news is, Amblyopia is preventable, if caught early in a child’s development. I developed the EYE HEART BABY program to evaluate the health and vision of infants to reduce the risk of vision loss and facilitate proper vision development. My goal is to help children in the community be prepared as they move into school age. EYE HEART BABY is a 30 – 40 minute exam to ensure their eyes are working together and developing properly. The exam rules out any abnormalities, looking for signs of amblyopia, “lazy eye”, crossed eyes “strabismus”, and signs of near/farsightedness. Between six months and the age of two, children undergo a vital period of visual development. If I find abnormalities, eye care treatment can be initiated to seek a positive outcome. to make sure their ocular development is on track, and it’s also an opportunity to educate parents in a fun way. As a Portland Optometrist, it is my mission to practice with purpose; locally and globally ~Dr. Annie Bacon