Ophthalmology Student Interest Group (OSIG)
The Ophthalmology Student Interest Group (OSIG) is sponsored by Rudy Yung, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmogy. It was originally started by students in an effort to provide a forum for medical students interested in ophthalmology. While there are no regularly scheduled meetings, the group usually meets monthly. According to Dr. Yung, as the OSIG group has grown and become more active, it has increased interest in ophthalmology among IU medidal students in recent years.
Ophthalmology is part of the surgical rotation at IUSM but there is no separate ophthalmology rotation. OSIG was developed to provide students interested in ophthalmology with the opportunity to work together on rotations and to help each other with the residency application process. Additionally, as the group has developed, it now provides students with hands-on experience while, at the same time, it provices much needed care to the Indianapolis community.
In recent years the group has become very active in community eye screening events through their work with the IU Student Outreach Clinic (SOC), a free clinic created by students and run by volunteers. The IU Student Outreach Clinic provides medical services to the uninsured and underserved of Indianapolis. Hosted by Neighborhood Fellowship Church on the near east side, the SOC has continued to expand her services over the years since its inception, adding dentistry, law, social work, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy. Recently, the SOC has added an eye clinic.
The eye clinic was created by members of OSIG. The first two eye clinics, held at the SOC in April and October of 2013, welcomed approximately 20 patients for visual acuity screening and glaucoma screening. Though the services provided were limited, these initial eye clinics revealed a great need for vision services by the uninsured and underserved populations in Indianapolis.
The year 2014 saw an expansion of the eye clinic’s services. In 2014, thee clinic saw 126 patients on eight different clinic days. Beginning in January, the eye clinic saw patients every other month. By the end of the summer, the eye clinic had become a monthly event. The eye clinic’s volunteers included approximately 25 different students, residents, and physicians, many of whom volunteered multiple times.
The year 2014 also saw further expansion as the eye clinic began to provide visual acuity screening and refractive services including prescriptions for glasses. Thanks to grant support from the IU’s Women’s Philanthropy Council the group was able to purchase reading glasses which were given to patients needing them. Glaucoma screening began with the clinic using a combination of tonometry, visual field testing, and assessment of the optic nerve. The grant support also enabled OSIG to purchase a fundus camera which is used to screen patients for diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy
This provided a great service to the community because many patients who presented with vision threatening diseases might not have received an eye screening had it not been for the free services provided by OSIG's participation in the IU Student Outreach Clinic. Patients with signs of glaucoma, retinopathy, or other serious eye diseases,were referred to the ophthalmology clinic at Eskenazi Hospital for further evaluation.
Additionally, OSIG developed a partnership with the LensCrafters at the Glendale Mall, and they agreed to provide glasses to patients who received prescriptions from OSIG screenings. In 2014, as a result of OSIG screenings, 32 prescriptions for free glasses from LensCrafters were given to patients.
Several OSIG leaders have helped to create and expand the Eye Clinic. These leaders include the past two Presidents of OSIG, Andrea Wenzel and Nathan McIntyre, who mobilized OSIG volunteers on each Eye Clinic date, and Anna Kalbfell, who wrote the grant that enabled OSIG to buy the new fundus camera. OSIG would also like to thank the IU’s Women’s Philanthropy Council and the Central Indiana Community Foundation for supporting them in their mission to provide vision screening and services to the uninsured and underserved of Indianapolis.
As a group, OSIG not only provides experience and networking opportunities for future ophthalmolgists, it is providing a valuable service to the medically underserved population of Indianapolis. The group feels a great sense of acomplishment and the Department of Ophthalmology is proud of what they have achieved.