Gayle Daniels, OD

Born into a military family, Dr. Daniels’ passion for service was nurtured at an early age. She attended Oakwood College and then Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, she was commissioned as a Captain in the Air Force and stationed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC. It was a mission trip to Mexico that ignited the flame for mission work. This flame still drives her today. She has an intense passion for service and ministry. Dr. Daniels owns a practice in Fort Worth, TX and learned Spanish to better serve her patients. Daniels created a program called “Better Vision Better Hope” which provides humanitarian services to those in need locally and internationally. She also partners with United Hands, Inc providing care in St Kitts, St.Vincent, South Africa, Jamaica, Haiti, Guatemala and Honduras. Locally, the program partners with several homeless shelters, churches, and numerous other charitable organizations in her effort to fulfill her mission of service.

Restoring Sight by Faith

in Spring 2023   |
Published on 07/01/2023   |
4 min | <<|>>

The year 2020 was every eye care provider’s anticipated year! Many practices had plans to market witty slogans focusing on 20/20. But little did we realize the world would be brought to a standstill by a pandemic of coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Earlier I had founded The Daniel Migael Foundation, Inc., a non profit humanitarian organization that operates as “Better Vision Better Hope” to provide humanitarian aid and access to vision care and prescription glasses based on the biblical principle of “serving wholeheartedly as to the Lord and not to men” (Ephesians 6:7).

I thought the mandatory shelter in place would force me to close the foundation, since our operating expenses are covered by lab processing fees from clinics and grants. Those 18-24 months of absolutely no clinic activity—meaning no income—were my ultimate test of faith. Only by God’s grace and mercy was I able to keep the lights on and the bills paid. At this point I realized our non profit mission and organization was truly God-inspired and had a God-directed purpose.

By persistent prayer and faith, God enabled me to continue to serve communities and establish programs that contribute to the betterment of our world.

Over the years I have established a network of vendors that specialize in portable optometric equipment so that the care rendered is of the same quality and standards as any private practice. “Better Vision Better Hope” is the flagship program that provides access to vision care for disadvantaged communities.

We run clinics in rehab facilities, churches, schools, YMCAs, homeless shelters, and neighborhood community centers. In late 2019 the program was blessed with an in-kind donation of a Class-A, RV-styled mobile clinic that was affectionately named PopEye. The vehicle came fully equipped with two eye lanes, finishing lab equipment, and an optical area.

For years I had wanted to purchase a mobile clinic van, but in God’s perfect timing He provided this van as a gift.

Although the donor cautioned that it might have mechanical issues, PopEye is still faithfully traveling monthly to clinics in the Fort Worth area. However, PopEye is now more than 20 years old. It has served us well in providing vision care to vulnerable populations, but now we are praying for funding to purchase a new mobile clinic van.

By faith I have already named her Iris because she is going to be so pretty!

In addition to participating in community vision clinics, I created Eye Tech Academy, a curriculum that teaches individuals to become optical technicians.

There are two programs: a one-year competency-based apprenticeship registered with the Department of Labor and a six-week internship. The teaching modules combine lecture hours, hands-on workshops, and practical experience with patients of the community clinics. The final modules introduce resume writing and interview skills. At the end of the program the students earn a certificate of completion and are empowered with job-ready skills. It was approved as a Department of Labor Apprenticeship program for optical technician training.

Additionally, I taught an optical technician course at a local high school for at-risk teens for five years. The classroom was transformed into a functioning vision clinic with lab equipment. Students learned how to pre-screen, select frame and style, measure and cut prescription glasses for their peers and faculty. Attention to the program was highlighted on a local television news channel featuring creative classrooms for innovative learning. Several of the high school graduates were subsequently hired in local optical practices in the Fort Worth area. A version of the syllabus was submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and was approved as a 1 credit hour innovative course, eligible to be taught at any high school in the State of Texas.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) is not only a play on words for vision care but it’s how I live. Whether in the brick and mortar of my private practice or my non-profit mobile van, I continue to share my faith.

This is evidenced by the office décor and the industry-standard reading cards which have been strategically replaced with laminated pages from Ministry of Healing or GLOW tracts.

I remember one time a patient jokingly threatened not to return if the inspirational placards were not put back on the walls once Christmas was over! The comment made me realize that people are very attuned to everything we are saying, verbal and non-verbal, confirming the saying that the best sermon one will ever preach is how you live your life.

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