On 18 September 2016, the team comprising of 25 SP Optometry (DOPT) students and two lecturers embarked on a 14-day overseas community service programme to Vietnam. The team started conducting the vision screening on the second day upon reaching Tuy Hoa via a 10-hour overnight train ride. During the screening, they prescribed distance glasses for residents who could not see clearly at far, reading glasses for residents with reading difficulties, and sunglasses for residents suspected to have cataract or who require UV protection. In total, they dispensed 2500 pairs of eyeglasses to the Tuy Hoa community.
Vision assessment of patients
Degree assessment of patients
The satisfaction the team received from being able to help others was immeasurable. The locals who were given glasses during the screening were all very grateful and happy that they could see clearly. Unlike in Singapore, it is not as easy to access eye care services in rural areas in Vietnam.
Through this trip, the team has learnt how to appreciate many of such luxuries that is taken for granted in life. It was a great opportunity for the team to help the less privileged and to experience the culture in Vietnam. They also overcame difficulties such as the language barrier, and learnt many important skills like teamwork and confidence.
A group photo at the closing ceremony