Optometrist sees 1300 patients during three-day eye camp
Specsavers Home Visit optometrist, Kejal Shah, hosted an eye camp in Kisumu, Kenya
13 June 2023
A domiciliary optometrist has seen 1300 patients during a three-day eye camp that she established in Kisumu, Kenya.
Kejal Shah, who works for Specsavers Home Visits, travelled to Kenya with hundreds of pairs of glasses that had been donated by her patients and was expecting to see 600 people when she set up the eye camp.
However, demand exceeded her expectations and she tested the sight of more than double that amount, with patients of all ages queuing from 5am each morning.
Shah, who grew up in Kenya, decided to set up the eye camp as a way to give back, having initially volunteered at a local eye hospital following her GCSEs. “That was when I decided I wanted to specialise in eyes,” she shared.
During the camp, Shah partnered with local ophthalmologist, Dr Mansour Abukhelewa, enabling cataract surgery to be provided to patients who required it.
Of the 1300 patients who Shah saw, 900 had glasses dispensed, 250 patients were treated for minor eye conditions such as allergies and infections, and 100 cataract surgeries and 20 corneal transplants were booked.
Prior to the first day of the camp, the optometrist spent four hours training volunteers who supported triaging patients, reading prescriptions and dispensing spectacles.
Speaking about her trip, Shah shared: “Initially we were expecting about 200 people each day, over the three days of the eye camp. We actually saw 1300 people for an eye test – more than double what we had anticipated. People started queuing three hours before the clinic opened at 8am, just to make sure they could get in.”
Shah added: “It was very busy, but it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life. Our work helped change the lives of people unable to afford to feed themselves, let alone pay for eye care or medical bills.”
“‘There was a 19-month-old baby who had a significant squint and could just not see at all. They had a very high prescription. We had a lot of children’s glasses donated by colleagues and friends, so it was really good to be able to help that baby to see as well as treat their squint at the hospital.
“There was also a lady with broken glasses. She had been struggling with them for three years because she just couldn’t afford to get any new glasses. Thanks to the donations, she could have another pair.
‘”We had loads of kids come in. There was one 15-year-old boy whose teacher thought he was misbehaving because he couldn’t focus in class. But he couldn’t see anything beyond arms-length. When he put on his new glasses, he was so happy that he could focus on his studies.
“We had people come in from the hospital for deaf people nearby so that they could get eye care. It was an absolute privilege to treat them.”