Skills-sharing VAO trip

Six optometrists travel to Ghana with VAO to test the sight of local people and help teach optometry students vital skills

08 Nov 2016 by Emily McCormick

During a two-week Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) project in South Africa, a team of six optometrists delivered much-needed, free eye care and spectacles to people living in Ghana’s Cape Coast.

Arriving in the city in the south of Ghana, the team set up clinics within the optometry department at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), where they performed sight tests, diagnosed eye conditions and dispensed glasses throughout the 14-day assignment.

Outreach clinics were also established in rural villages across Cape Coast where the need for eye care was deemed high.

Speaking about the outreach clinics, optometrist, Kevin Woodbridge, who took part in the project, shared with OT: “In Atonicwa, we set up a clinic in the village library and, amongst many other things, glasses were dispensed to a young teacher with a baby. In Apewosika, we tested the sight of all of the children who attend the village school. The headmaster of the school was so pleased with the results that he presented both VAO and the UCC with a framed citation of thanks.”

As part of the assignment, the volunteer optometrists also taught clinical skills to final-year optometry students at UCC. This involved providing tutorials and lectures to students, as well as demonstrating how to perform eye exams and dispense spectacles. The team also supervised UCC students as they examined patients in the clinics.

Mr Woodbridge reflected: “In general, the students had a good theoretical knowledge of optometry. It was a joy to help them apply this knowledge when examining patients and to see students make great improvements in their clinical skills, particularly the accuracy of their retinoscopy.”

To find out more about taking part in a future volunteer project with VAO, visit the VAO website or telephone 01293 535 016.


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