Last chance for student bursary application

Applications for the joint Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund and Vision Aid Overseas bursary close on Friday

Optometry student and VAO volunteer, Amy Gumbrell

Optometry undergraduates interested in applying for this year’s Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund and Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) bursary , which provides work experience opportunities in Africa are reminded to apply before Friday’s deadline (28 October).

This year the organisations jointly award two bursaries, which are funded by the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians, to second-year optometry students. The bursaries will be used to send the successful undergraduate applicants on a two-week VAO project in Africa during the summer 2017.

Having visited Ethiopia with VAO this summer after receiving the bursary last year, student, Amy Gumbrell, said that the experience was “a great opportunity to see how optical practice is carried out outside of the UK.”

She added: “The experience highlighted to me how extremely lucky and privileged we are in the UK for all the facilities and equipment we have so readily available, but also showed me a beautiful country and new culture with welcoming people who were so grateful to receive our help.”

During the project, Ms Gumbrell performed sight tests and witnessed tropical diseases and conditions that are rarely seen in the UK. She also had the opportunity to observe surgeries carried out by an ophthalmologist and to help teach nurses basic refraction.

Encouraging fellow students to apply for the bursary, she said: “My confidence and skills improved greatly over the trip. I was more challenged then I had ever been before. The fact that I was able to cope with this and still refract the numbers of patients that the team did proved to me that a lot is possible if you put your mind to it and push your boundaries.”

Interested students can download an application form and should email it to [email protected] by 28 October.