Optometry helps Airmen see eye-to-eye

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Hada
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Vision can mean the difference between life and death in the military. Aiming a weapon effectively, parachuting out of an aircraft or patrolling your area of responsibility would be incredibly difficult without a healthy set of eyes.

To help the 28th Bomb Wing mission succeed and to keep Airmen safe, the 28th Medical Operations Squadron optometry clinic provides Ellsworth Airmen and families with professional eye care.

"Our mission is to provide primary vision care, support wartime readiness and sustain visual combat capability in support of the 28th Bomb Wing mission," said Maj. Charles Malone, 28th MDOS optometrist. "This is done through high-quality, comprehensive and cost-effective optometric care to all beneficiaries."

The optometry conducts approximately 250 eye exams every month.

"A standard eye exam usually consists of a visual acuity check, used to determine a change in vision and other procedures to ensure the patient's eyes are healthy and free of disease," said Master Sgt. Marc Slater, 28th MDOS NCO in charge of optometry.

Slater recommends an annual eye exam be accomplished by everyone to ensure any problems are caught at an early stage.

"It's critically important to the mission that Airmen stay vision-ready," Slater said. "Airmen need to be able to see to do their jobs. For example, maintainers wouldn't be able fix aircraft and pilots wouldn't be able to fly or drop bombs on target."

In addition to eye exams, the optometry clinic provides services such as frames of choice for glasses, prescriptions for contact lenses, pre-operation evaluations, eye injury treatment and assessment.

"I love what I do, it's the best job in the world," Malone said. "It makes me feel fantastic knowing that I'm helping to improve people's eyesight as well as helping them accomplish the mission."

Any Department of Defense identification card holder is eligible to be seen by the optometry clinic. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the optometry clinic at (605) 385-6700.