The Seattle/King County Clinic recently wrapped up its four-day run at Seattle Center, providing free eye exams and prescription glasses to more than 1,000 people in need who attended the clinic – the first clinic of this type offered since the interruption of the pandemic.
The comprehensive vision clinic included a review of each patient’s medical and vision history and offered diagnostic tests such as autorefraction, visual acuity, tonometry, lensometry, refraction, slit lamps, lamp microbioscopy slit and ocular coherent tomography.
Of patients, more than 90% selected new optician-fitted frames from a wide variety of styles and ordered prescription eyewear – for delivery in early December. Additionally, participants were assisted with social work and health insurance navigation. More than 90 referrals were issued for follow-up care in cases where cataracts, glaucoma and other eye problems were detected.
According to the Washington Healthcare Access Alliance, vision care is one of the most scarce health services in the state for those in need. At this year’s clinic, around half of the patients were unemployed, disabled or retired, with students and children under 18 accounting for just under 10%. Three percent identified as military veterans.
As in previous years, the majority of patients cited lack of insurance or underinsurance as the main barriers to obtaining vision care – they also came to the clinic from across the region and spoke over 30 main languages.
Led by the Seattle Center and the Seattle Center Foundation, the Seattle/King County Clinic brings together health care organizations, civic agencies, nonprofits, and private businesses to transform Seattle Center facilities into a vision care, with an average of 250 licensed healthcare professionals and general support volunteers each day donating their time and expertise.
The Seattle/King County Clinic is made possible through thousands of donated man-hours as well as cash and in-kind contributions. In its first six years, this support enabled the clinic to provide $20 million in direct services to 23,000 patients.
Learn more about Seattle/King County Clinic at seattlecenter.org/skcclinic.