Nayan Patel, OD, clinical optometrist and clinical adjunct assistant professor, has spent over a decade providing eye screenings at the BAPS Charities health fair in Chicago, Illinois. This charitable organization extends from the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar (BAPS) Shri Swarminarayan Madir temple in Barlett, Illinois, of which Dr. Patel and his wife, Manali Patel, MD, count themselves as community members. Dr. Patel began volunteering with BAPS Charities in 2009, during his first year of optometry school at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.
The health fair operates over two days once per year and is a 100% volunteer-based clinic, staffed by physicians, optometrists and students. The focus is on preventative care through blood work and a range of health screenings. The vision portion of the health fair particularly focuses on screening for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In 2019, 522 individuals were examined by 60 physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. The health fairs have been paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic, but Dr. Patel has continued to volunteer by seeing a handful of patients individually.
The organization recently expanded into Wisconsin, through the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple in Pewaukee. The new BAPS temple is planning on hosting a health fair in the Milwaukee area community once the pandemic is over. All members of community are welcome to attend.
“It’s a great feeling to help people in need,” said Dr. Patel. “Most of the people we see at the health fair have not had eye exams or seen an eye doctor for years. We have diagnosed severe diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.”
To learn more about the health fair, check out the BAPS Charities Health Fair video from 2019.
“In the joy of others lies our own,
In the progress of others rests our own,
In the good of others abides our own,
Know this to be the key to peace and happiness”
― Pramukh Swami Maharaj