As an optometrist, I have been truly blessed with the opportunity to provide eye exams and vision care not only to my local community, but also to those in other countries around the world. Having traveled to beautiful places like Lima, Peru, and St. Thomas, Jamaica in pursuit of my passion to care for the visual needs of others, I truly appreciate the need to provide eye exams in areas where an optometrist is not easily accessible.
Providing Eye Exams in Peru and Jamaica
During my visit to Peru, I had the opportunity to work with other talented optometrists where we visited a local school and discovered that many children had poor eye sight and had no ability to acquire eye glasses. When we fit children with eye glasses, they were so amazed at how clearly they could see. It was a truly eye opening experience, pun intended!
In Jamaica, I worked at the Princess Margaret Hospital where I helped people of all ages. During my visit, I learned that some people had to travel for three hours just so they can attend the free clinic to have their eye exam. Together with other optometrists, we provided people with eye glasses, both prescription and sunglasses alike, as well as eye drops for various ailments .We also educated people on what foods to eat for maintaining their eye health and helped them understand how diseases like diabetes can affect a person’s vision.
Worldwide – Vision Continues to be a Contributor to Economic and Social Prosperity
According to a research conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, it is estimated that 30% of children worldwide experience uncorrected vision problems. The study indicated that poor vision can have effects on long-term health, school performance, emotional and social development.
Visual difficulties can affect the child’s ability to learn, which results in academic under-achievement. Poor vision also reduces adult literacy which impacts professional and social fulfillment. Meanwhile, for workers, it is estimated that 33% have uncorrected vision that could only be improved by having a proper eye exam and wearing glasses.
Working Towards Equality in Vision Around the World
Given my experience in Peru and Jamaica, I realized that up until now, there is still a considerable lack of public awareness about the consequences of poor vision on individuals, families and the community in these countries. Many local communities around the world do not have access to routine eye exam services. As an optometrist, I get to do something everyday that will make a profound impact on the lives of other people not only in my community, but around the world.