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Beyond the confines of the classroom

Vision Outreach to Laos 2016

On 11 June 2016, the Vision Outreach Laos Team arrived at capital of Laos, Vientiane. Together with the Lion’s Club, Singapore, ten final year SP Optometry (DOPT) students and their lecturer embarked on their 9-day overseas community service journey through the Lions Gift of Sight Project.

The Vision Outreach Laos team conducted a site recce and set up the vision screening site. A team of 60 people, comprising local volunteers, SP Optometry students and staff, eye care professionals and Lion’s Club volunteers from all walks of life conducted vision screening for over 1000 locals over 4 days. On their second last day of the project, the team dispensed a total of 440 customised spectacles and provided 1500 pairs of reading glasses for the school teachers in Vientiane and outlying provinces.

The first few refractions were tough and challenging due to the language barrier. Nevertheless, the team put in great effort to learn the language and eventually the pace picked up, with the team communicating clearly and concisely in a way that was easily understood by local beneficiaries.

From complex refractive error management to the identification and referral of ocular diseases, the students were able to learn and gain first-hand experience through this trip.

Team Vision Outreach Laos before departure

SP Optometry students assembling equipment

SP Optometry lecturer conducting eye examination for the Minister of Education and Sports, Laos

SP Optometry students in action

“Helping out others through community service has made me learn so much and made me realise the difference in culture. A small favour in our eyes is actually equivalent to a great impact on their life.”

Janet Ong Wen Xian
Current Year 3 student

“It felt really heart warming to have people coming forward to thank me over and over again after the eye check just because they are able to see so clearly after so long.”

Sophia Kiang Hwee Ping
Current Year 3 student