As optometrists, any opportunity to give the gift of sight is so inspiring and rewarding. Even early into our optometric careers, there are numerous organizations that allow student ODs to start serving the eyecare needs of patients domestic and abroad. Fayiz Mahgoub (Western University ’18) and Tristan Barrueco (SUNY ’18) discuss their recent experiences on a sight giving mission to Tanzania, and the many ways student ODs can get involved in giving back!
- Lions Club: Local Lions Clubs collect glasses donations within the community, and coordinate vision screenings and ocular health service trips to areas in need. Optometry schools have their own Lions Club student affiliations that you can join to get involved!
- SVOSH (Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity): Joining your school’s SVOSH chapter gives you the opportunity to travel to countries around the globe giving ocular health exams and eyewear to those in need. They collaborate with the World Health Organization on a mission to end preventable blindness by 2020.
- Eye Health Institute: This initiative helps bring eyecare to the underserved in Jamaica. In addition to glasses and health exams, they also perform cataract surgeries and corneal transplants.
- RAM (Remote Area Medical): Optometry school students can volunteer to serve at RAM events that bring medical, dental, and ocular care to remote areas within the USA.
- OneSight: Fayiz and Tristan recently joined a OneSight service trip in Tanzania where they brought ocular health exams and optical services to thousands in need. Instead of distributing used eyewear, OneSight brings patients new frames and lenses cut on site in their exact prescription.
Have a story about your experience giving the gift of vision? We’d love to hear from you and spread the word about the great ways optometry students can make a difference!