July 23, 2024
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Paterson Ophthalmologist Offers ‘Vision From the Heart’

(Courtesy of Alden Leifer MD and Associates) On Thursday, October 26, the offices of Alden Leifer MD and Associates hosted the first-ever “Vision from the Heart” charitable event. The event, modeled after the popular “Dentistry from the Heart,” provided free eye exams for 107 patients who did not have any health insurance.

Dr. Leifer, an ophthalmologist practicing in Paterson for 30 years, had been thinking about holding this type of event for the past five years. His newly expanded state-of-the-art office located in the Barnert Medical Arts Complex was perfectly suited to hold this program comfortably. Dr. Leifer remarked, “Over the past three decades we have given back to the community in a variety of ways, but this event proved to be something truly special.”

Along with Dr. Leifer, his associates, Dr. Jing Jing Feng and Dr. Aviva Distenfeld, saw the 107 patients with the help and support of 16 staff members. All staff members and doctors wore bright blue T-shirts with a beautiful “Vision from the Heart” logo on the front. Balloon bouquets and other paraphernalia gave the office a party atmosphere.

Besides the free exam, all patients received gift bags and refreshments. The majority of those seen ended their visit with an unexpected surprise: free eyeglasses provided by the on-site optical shop, Eye to Eye Optical. The overall effort had several generous sponsors, including VSP insurance plan, Allergan, Bausch and Lomb, MH Optical and the staff of the office.

People attending came from the local area in addition to many from nearby towns and beyond. One woman from Puerto Rico showed up whose home, along with her eyeglasses, had been destroyed in Hurricane Maria. She was examined and new eyeglasses, which she desperately needed, were prescribed. Another man made the trip from Brooklyn, New York. One 88-year-old woman had her first eye exam ever. Another man was diagnosed with advanced untreated glaucoma, and another with severe cataracts needing removal. Patients were referred to one of several resources if they needed a free clinic to be seen for follow-up care.

The truly appreciative patients left with smiles on their faces and gift bags in their hands, and were truly thankful for the services provided to them at no cost. Over $54,000 of free goods and services were provided on this special day.

The office staff was exhausted but exhilarated by the experience. At the end of the day they all more clearly understood the meaning of the quote by Winston Churchill that was posted on the front door of the office that day, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Because of the resounding success of the event, the staff of Alden Leifer MD and Associates is already making plans for next year’s “Vision from the Heart.” Diana Cabrera, the staff member who coordinated the program, said, “Our office is growing. We’re adding a new doctor in January and new staff members. We look forward to being able to handle even more patients at next year’s event.”

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