Valorie Tresner was a first time volunteer for iCare, and has brought wonderful talent to the team. Valorie tells us she volunteered because, “I have worn glasses since I was nine years old. I began wearing contacts in 1961 when I was just 13 years old. My mother worked for the optometrist our family went to and he actually gave me my first pair because my vision was so impaired. When I first put the contacts in I realized that you could actually see leaves on trees from a distance, not just green stuff. At 45 years of age, because of an unusual situation with a small cataract that was sitting such that light reflected off from it I went blind in my right eye. So cataract surgery was done to restore my vision. While on a business trip out-of-state I had lattice wall detachment from the retina and it was hemorrhaging. I was advised to immediately find an ophthalmologist who could do laser surgery to stop the bleeding. I was fortunate that the City of Redding, CA had three outstanding eye centers and was able to be successfully treated with no further complications. At age 58 I had my second cataract surgery. I know what it is to live with real eye problems and to not be able to see much of anything without contact lenses and/or glasses. I had always taken the fact that good eye care is readily available in the US, and insurance often pays for a good portion of that eye care.
A joyful and challenging experience Valorie shared with us was, “Since this was my first mission everything was exciting, challenging and ultimately brought me joy. The facility was very small and the crowds very large. I knew the teams had always been successful, even in the most challenging situations and I had no doubt we would be successful in the small clinic, but just the space and managing the crowds was a real challenge. My job was to administer the first acuity test right after the people registered. The room was very small and there were two of us, each with our own charts. The people had to stand very close to one another that were taking the tests, they had also been waiting in line for a very long time and we were the first station of treatment. I loved the look of relief on their faces when they finally got to enter the first step of the testing process. They were so grateful, and so gracious, even after long waits and some stress of the very crowded waiting space. When they took the test and we were able to confirm that yes, indeed, they did have a vision problem and it was going to be attended to many of them were almost unbelieving. I could feel the sense of relief that we could confirm that and sympathize with them that they had a vision problem, and feel the relief and joy that they would be seen by the nurse and doctors. The most joyful experience was when the very young children could not contain their delight with their new glasses and would make their way back to our station to show us their new glasses. The looks of joy on their faces and the grateful thank you from their parents were so gratifying. Many of the older patients would also make their way back to us to thank us – they would be wearing their new glasses and the smiles lit their faces; many had looked dejected and doubting that they would really leave that day being able to see.”