By Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry clinic is now extending care to retirees and dependents.
Due to an increase in manning, the optometry clinic will now be able to take in more patients.
“What we’re looking to do is increase our number of patients by offering our care to retirees and dependents since most of them are being referred off base,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Ballard, 19th AMDS Optometry flight chief.
From December 2015 to November 2016, the clinic served 3,716 patients with a 4-man team of U.S. Air Force personnel and civilians. With more manning, their new goal for 2017 is to see 4,600 patients.
The clinic conducts routine eye exams, orders glasses, assists in conducting the optical portion of flight physicals, prepares patients for refractive surgery and sees refractive surgery follow-ups.
While the optometry flight performs like a regular clinic, the support they provide not only impacts Airmen, but the Combat Airlift and the overall Air Force mission by maintaining their mission readiness.
“We help Airmen maintain their mission readiness by helping them stay vision-ready,” Ballard said. “For example, when we issue pilots their frames, we’re helping them stay qualified to fly. The same goes for deployers: if they can’t see, they can’t deploy.”
The clinic changes have the potential to not only impact the personnel working on base but the community as well, by providing an additional outlet to receive medical care.
“Not only are we helping Airmen stay mission ready, we’re also helping them and others maintain their ocular health,” Ballard said. “Now that we’ve opened up our services a little more, we can further make an impact in our community by making sure our retiree and dependent patients have the care they need to make sure their eyes stay healthy.”
To schedule an appointment, call (501) 987-8811. For more information, visit www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/MTF/Little-Rock/