Drs. Khan Lau and Seulyn Au
For many people around the world, including one out of every four children in Hawaii, the oft-overlooked ability to see anything comes with a hefty price tag.
Drs. Seulyn Au, O.D., (right) and Khan Lau, O.D. FAAO have been helping to ease that burden for the last 20 years. Since starting their practice in 1989, the cousins and their local LensCrafters team have provided hundreds with free vision care and glasses through the Gift of Sight program.
“People just don’t realize the importance of eye care, especially on a childhood level,” Lau explains. “That’s a part of what we try to focus on: Making sure at least the kids get some basic care so they’re not overlooked and they can achieve as much as they possibly can in school.”
“On our part, we do the eye exams totally complimentary, and LensCrafters helps us in providing the glasses,” adds Au, a Kamehameha alumna who became the first native Hawaiian optometrist in the state after she opened Hawaii’s only nonprofit eye care clinic, the Kalihi/Palama Health Clinic, 25 years ago.
“Growing up in kind of a lower-middle class family, there was always a need. And I always thought, if I ever became successful, I would actually contribute to that in any venue that I could.” She served as the clinic’s director for 13 years and is currently a director for the Palama Settlement advisory board.
Lau suspects the volunteer gene runs in the family. In addition to participating in the LensCrafters Gift of Sight International Program, which has given Lau the opportunity to provide free eye care to people in Albania, Mexico, Laos and China, the Los Angeles native also serves as an adviser for the Junior Achievement Program at Pearl City High School.
The doctors will be at their Ala Moana and Pearlridge offices the first week of April to celebrate two decades of bringing the basic human right of clear sight to Hawaii. They are planning a Mini Hometown Day for patients referred to them on an on-need basis through their local nonprofit partners River of Life Mission, IHS homeless shelter, Shriners Hospital, the Salvation Army, Goodwill, local Lions clubs and public schools. Patients will receive an onthe-spot eye exam and be able to walk away with a brand-new pair of eyeglasses within the hour.
“It becomes a fun part of the practice,” Au confesses of their ongoing efforts conducted every Friday at their four Oahu locations (their two other offices are in Kahala and Windward malls). “It’s giving back and watching the true joy on the faces of patients who really can’t afford the services, especially the children. To kind of get them off to a good start is just a heart-warming type of deal.”
To see more information on Drs. Au and Lau and the Gift of Sight, visit www.lenscraftersauandlau.com.
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