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Aloha! Hawaii association gears up to educate the public, serve the community, increase public awareness of optometry

May 24, 2013
Optometrists participate in the “Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes.” Shown from left are Derrick Abe, O.D., Eugene Young, O.D., Caryn Arine, O.D., Peili Lin, O.D., Linda Arakaki, O.D. and Chris Sween, O.D.

Optometrists participate in the “Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes.” Shown from left are Derrick Abe, O.D., Eugene Young, O.D., Caryn Arine, O.D., Peili Lin, O.D., Linda Arakaki, O.D. and Chris Sween, O.D.

A central part of the Hawaii Optometric Association (HOA) is its commitment to public service projects. Through these activities, the association increases member involvement and active participation.

The HOA encourages members to connect to the public, with particular efforts in the areas of diabetes education, children’s vision and targeted health fairs.

Diabetes education

One of the HOA’s important connections is with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Hawaii chapter. This connection helps the HOA increase public awareness of diabetes and its relationship to eye health.

HOA President-elect Peili Lin, O.D., is heavily involved, addressing support groups about diabetes and the eyes.

“Hawaii is one of the states with a high rate of diabetes,” said Dr. Lin. “Our objective is to educate the public on the importance of annual eye exams and have optometry in the forefront of patients’ minds when they think of eyes and vision.”

The HOA also participates in the ADA’s annual “Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes.” HOA member ODs work to raise money, participate in the walk and provide services during a health fair following the walk.

The HOA is also involved in the ADA’s Diabetes Alert Day at the state capitol where ODs educate legislators on the primary care role optometrists play in helping patients manage the disease.

One of the young participants explores the HOA’s exhibit in the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.

One of the young participants explores the HOA’s exhibit in the Hawaii Children’s
Discovery Center.

Children’s vision

The HOA works closely with the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, which has brought a significant amount of positive publicity and recognition to optometry in Hawaii.

The HOA even has its own display at the center with an eye exam lane, a batting cage where children can practice hitting through special glasses that simulate eye conditions and educational videos for kids to view.

The HOA holds an annual “Be Wise About Your Eyes” day at the discovery center where it distributes free admission tickets and members assess children’s vision. HOA ODs ensure the event is a big draw for the public and garners much positive attention.

Health fairs

The HOA is a regular participant in the Hawaii State Special Olympic Games health fair. The HOA offers a comprehensive evaluation for all athletes at this event, where 300 to 400 athletes are seen over two days.

Through generous donations from Optical Suppliers Hawaii, the HOA distributes sunglasses and vouchers for prescription eyeglasses and prescription sport goggles for athletes in need.

The HOA is also involved in senior citizen health fairs and the annual Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair.

The HOA promotes the “Be Wise About Your Eyes” education program. Optometrists perform near vision tests at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.

The HOA promotes the “Be Wise About Your Eyes” education program. Optometrists perform near vision tests at the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.

The HOA gives two middle- and high-school students and their teachers monetary awards for the best exhibits related to visual sciences and encourages winners to further pursue their interests in this field.

The HOA is dedicated to public service through its many member activities.

Future goals include continuing to educate the public, solidifying its relationships with the ADA, Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center and the Special Olympics and increasing the positive public perception of optometry in the state.

For more information, visit www.hawaiioptometry.org.

The HOA will also be featured on the AOA’s diabetes and eye health website www.aoa.org/x23344.xml.

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