This past March, I was able to go abroad to Copán, Honduras on my first eye care mission with 7 other optometry students and 2 optometrists. Within four days, we were able to see over 600 patients. Our team performed free ocular health examinations and dispensed recycled eyeglasses to the surrounding villages and communities. The mission was a success for not only was it a learning experience for me as an optometry student to find and identify ocular conditions and diseases such as pterygiums, cataracts and glaucoma, but also to provide eye care to underserved people who have little or no access to health care. What was most rewarding for me was being able to fit eyeglasses to those who had never been able to see clearly their whole life – one woman who I helped find eyeglasses for said she was finally able to see her husband’s and children’s faces so distinctly for the first time in her life!
This upcoming December, I will again be on an eye care mission to Pattaya, Thailand. Along with nine optometry colleagues and two doctors we plan on spending 2 full days at the Father Ray Foundation and another 2 full days at a local hospital seeing upwards of about 1,200 patients to provide free eye care. Like my previous trip, our exams will encompass testing and diagnosing refractive errors, checking for ocular health, and dispensing eyeglasses to those in need.
And just like my mission to Honduras, I will be fundraising for my expenses to go to Thailand including lodging, food and equipment. Thankfully, I was graced with numerous friends and family members to help me raise enough donations to go to Honduras, and I hope I can count on even the smallest donations to help me with my individual costs and any additional costs that will help our entire team. I truly thank you for your time and consideration.