Others in the industry are also helping.
The American Optometric Association is rallying support for eyecare providers in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.
Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief, a program of Optometry Cares-The AOA Foundation, is optometry's exclusive financial support program that provides immediate assistance to those in need in the wake of natural disasters.
"While we do not yet know how many of our hundreds of Texas doctors of optometry may be affected by this storm, the AOA and our fellow members stand with you all and are at the ready to provide the assistance needed personally and through Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief," Dr. Christopher J. Quinn, president of AOA, said in a press release. "AOA leadership is stepping up donations and asking all members of our optometric family to do the same so that we can ensure doctors of optometry are able to do what they do best-help their patients in need."
The worst hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since 2005, Hurricane Harvey made landfall southwest of Houston on Aug. 25 as a Category 4 storm. Since, the stalled tropical storm has dropped more than 30 inches of rain over southeast Texas with another one-and-a-half feet forecast through Wednesday, prompting a call for more widespread evacuations and emergency orders.
The storm is now tracking toward Louisiana, and several more days of disastrous flooding are expected.
Dr. Danica Marrelli, of Pearland, TX, was astonished by the devastation wrought since Friday, AOA reports. And more rain is forecast for the suburb just south of Houston.
"I've lived here my whole life, and I've never seen this type of damage," Marrelli said Monday. "It is absolutely heartbreaking and it will take months and months to recover."
Marrelli, who is the ocular diagnostic and medical eye service director at the University of Houston College of Optometry, sheltered at home with her family through the weekend's worst. Her neighborhood saw several homes take on water, and the subdivision's main thoroughfare was still inundated Monday morning. There's little to do but sit and wait for the waters to recede, she said.
The College of Optometry anticipates flooding and recovery efforts to keep the campus closed through Labor Day.
Among those who evacuated ahead of the storm were Dr. John McIntyre and other eye doctors at his Corpus Christi, TX, practice, which was expected to bear the brunt of the storm when it came inland. He was waiting out the storm with his elderly parents.
Prior to the storm, a message was posted for patients on the practice's social media page: "We will be closing Thursday at 3 p.m. due to the weather. And we are going to be closed tomorrow and Saturday as well. We will keep (you) posted about Sunday and Monday. Be safe everyone!"
"The seven other docs also evacuated like I did," McIntyre said late Friday afternoon. "Some live in low-lying flood areas so they needed to leave, and others have young families, and if Corpus Christi loses electricity, that would be a problem."
On Sunday, the practice posted a new note on their social media page:
"We will re-open on Tuesday Aug 29. We hope everyone has been safe during this crisis! We will continue to pray for all those who have been affected by this storm."
Meanwhile, Nashville, TN-based American Eyewear announced that it has begun two projects to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Robert Coppock, CEO of the company, wrote:
To do our part to help, American Eyewear has two projects:
- First, we have set up a go fund me campaign to raise money to assist our fellow citizens that have been affected by this disaster. With donations of $50 or more donors will receive a pair of Valor by Nash Sunglasses with 100% of the profts going to disaster relief!
- Second, we have created a “One up for Texas” Program so our clients can assist their fellow Doctors that have been decimated by this event. On their orders the offices can chose to donate a frame to an office in Texas that has be destroyed by the fooding. (Just write one up for Texas, and how many, and the frames will be sent.) The frames will be sent to offices that are not insured; Terry, our Texas Rep is running point on this. She will make sure that the frames go to assist those offices that are in need. Offices can also call us directly to send Frames To Texas.
We all are here to make American Eyewear the best in the industry.
And New York Eye of Amityville, NY, announced an initial donation of $5,000 to the Hurricane Relief Fund established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. New York Eye will match employee contributions of up to $10,000 within the next 30 days.