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386th EMDG hosts optometry clinic for service members

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daira Jackson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

The 386th Expeditionary Medical Group hosted an optometry clinic at the Medical Building on base May 4, 2022.

The optometry clinic was for service members experiencing vision changes in their previous prescription or new changes that may require glasses.

“Specifically with Airmen or Soldiers, it's important to have an optometry clinic available because we have a vision readiness aspect to our jobs that you may not have in other areas,” said U.S. Army Maj. Andrew Bodwell, optometrist, Camp Arifjan. “A lot of problems that can happen with the eyes are not symptomatic. So we'll catch things—a lot of times chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes can do things to the eyes—that you may not necessarily notice are happening, but they're setting you up for problems later in life.”

Bodwell and his team were supporting Camp Arifjan and Camp Buehring with optometry services when he and the 386th EMDG discussed the need for eye care on base and then decided to provide services on a rotating basis.

“We used to send patients down to Camp Arifjan, which is about an hour and a half away,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert M. Lystrup, chief of medical staff, 386th EMDG. “It's hard for people to go all the way down to Camp Arifjan—that disrupts the mission. So, we set up this system where Maj. Bodwell can just come here and take care of people every other week from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Medical Building.”

The mobile optometry team has sufficient equipment to offer thorough eye examinations to get service members the prescriptions they need.

“If there's anything serious that we can't take care of here in theater, we will medevac them out to Landstuhl, Germany, which is our biggest hospital in OCONUS [outside continental United States],” said Bodwell, who deployed from the 531st Hospital Center in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The optometry team sees about six to eight patients every two weeks.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mercy Enoruyi, a medical technician assigned to the 386th EMDG, said that she was having migraines after her glasses broke, so she scheduled an appointment at the optometry clinic and picked up her new glasses.

“[Bodwell] explained more about my eye condition and basically made this discussion one of the best I've ever had. I feel amazing. I can finally see now,” said Enoruyi.

In addition to providing eye care services Bodwell also conducted several trainings for the 386th EMDG to help them use optometry equipment and improve how they take care of emergencies.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joshua R. Buck, the command chief of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, believes the optometry clinic on base makes a big difference for Airmen.

“Here in the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, we do a real good job of bringing folks from the outside in and having the capability [of an optometry clinic] in the theater—I think it's fantastic,” said Buck. “It helps our Airmen at the end of the day, especially for those of us that are here for a while. Whenever we can do things like that, to take care of our Airmen, to keep them in the fight and keep executing our joint and coalition objectives—being able to have this service here—I think is great for all of us.”