by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Students couldn’t read the board at school. Diabetics were having eye problems that continued to deteriorate. People had glaucoma, macular degeneration or other eye conditions.
Dr. Dan Clousing checks the eyes of 5-year-old Dulce Dominguez during a vision appointment at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center while optometry assistant/interpreter Karen Sanchez helps out in the background.
And much more.
Most people can go to their local eye clinic for their vision care needs. But, for some people in the community, their eye care needs were being neglected because of financial cost, language or some other barrier.
Dr. Dan Clousing, an optometrist for Beaver Eye Care, began seeing patients weekly at Promise in April. Promise’s vision care hours are: 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays.
“There is an unmet need in our community and the surrounding area for eye care, especially within the Hispanic population,” he said. “I am excited to help meet this need, and Promise provides a perfect environment to do so. They provide interpreters and staff to help walk the patients through the process, which makes for a comfortable and non-intimidating environment that everyone benefits from.”
Promise Community Health Center has a selection of eyeglass frames that people can choose from.
Promise’s new vision care program was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Expanded Services program. The funding allowed Promise to enter the contract with Beaver Eye Care and outfit an exam room with the necessary optometry equipment.
During his weekly visits to Promise, Dr. Clousing is providing routine care, such as seeing patients who just need a new pair of glasses to see more clearly. He is providing medical eye care for patients with diabetes, eye infections, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions. He also is offering required vision screenings for school-age children.
Along with the eye exams, Promise has a selection of reasonably priced eyeglass frames to offer patients who need them. For patients who also would like contacts, they will be able to get those through Beaver Eye Care’s office.
Vicki Schrock, clinic manager for Promise, said vision care has been a wonderful addition to Promise’s core services.
“Promise always has been committed to serving the health of the whole person, and adding vision services continues our effort to meet that goal,” she said. “Vision also is an integral part of caring for patients with diabetes and other health concerns. It makes sense for them to access that service in the same building.”
Dr. Dan Clousing does a vision appointment with 5-year-old Dulce Dominguez at Promise CHC.
Dr. Clousing grew up in Sioux Center and graduated from Unity Christian High School in Orange City in 2000. He went on to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology in 2004. He earned his doctor of optometry degree at Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington in 2008.
Dr. Clousing worked as an optometrist at VisionWorks in Denver and Elizabeth, CO, 2008-09, and Pillen Optical in Rapid City, SD, 2009-13, before returning to his hometown of Sioux Center to start his optometry practice at Beaver Eye Care in 2013.
Here are his reflections about serving in the optometry profession and his new role of providing eye care at Promise:
Q: How did you originally become interested in becoming an eye doctor?
A: I originally decided that I was interested in optometry in high school. I have an older cousin that is also an optometrist, and she is responsible for getting me interested in the profession at an early age. I studied pre-optometry in college, and continued my graduate work at Indiana University after college.
Q: What’s most rewarding about the profession?
Dr. Dan Clousing began seeing patients for vision care during April at Promise Community Health Center.
A: I find that the most rewarding part of the profession is building personal relationships with patients. We can help make a difference in people’s lives by providing better vision, but we also develop personal relationships with patients when we see them and their children on a yearly basis.
Q: What do you hope you can bring to Promise CHC in this role?
A: I hope to bring quality vision care services to a population of people that have not had access to any eye care – or may not feel comfortable visiting our traditional offices. There are a lot of vision and eye health issues out there that we are not aware of, and I hope that this service helps bring those people in to receive help.
Q: What have the first few weeks been like for you?
A: The first few weeks have been great so far, and the interest from patients has been overwhelming. A lot of the patients in the first few weeks have vision and eye health problems that were more serious than expected, and it is gratifying to know that we are providing care to these patients that they may not have sought out elsewhere.
Q: What are your initial impressions of Promise CHC as an organization?
A: I have been very impressed with Promise and their providers. As mentioned before, Promise is providing a much needed service to a population of people that are underserved in many different aspects of health care. They provide a comfortable, non-intimidating environment that is conducive to bringing in patients from these underserved populations to seek help when needed.
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org and watch this video.
MORE ABOUT DR. CLOUSING:
Dr. Dan Clousing and his wife, Kacie, live in Sioux Center and have two children, Quinn, 4, and Renn, 3. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and doing outdoor activities, including golfing, fishing and some hunting. He enjoys watching sports and is a big Indiana Hoosiers fan.