Cardiff University optometry students deliver eye care support in Africa

Students from the university were part of eye care projects in Malawi and Ghana this summer

Cardiff students in surgery in Malawi

Optometry undergraduates from Cardiff University spent the summer providing eye care in Africa through outreach programmes supported by the optometry school.

The projects saw students use and advance their sight testing skills during trips to Malawi and Ghana.

For both projects, much needed equipment was donated by Louis Stone. The donation included glasses as well as ophthalmic tools, which were used for the outreach programmes in six different locations across Ghana and in Malawi.

During the Ghana trip, over a period of two weeks, undergraduates collaborated with the University of Cape Coast to perform non-profit sight tests to over 1000 patients, delivered through school screenings and in rural villages around the south coast. Students were able to observe different surgical operations to better understand patient care post-referral.

Students also participated in a research project focused on glaucoma and its prevalence in the Ghanian population, led by the post-graduate team at the University of Cape Coast.

Optometry undergraduate, Pamela Cheung, who travelled to Ghana as part of the project, reflected: “This incredible experience has helped to develop skills as upcoming optometrists, the importance of teamwork, and stamina across all aspects of life.”

Cardiff students in surgery in Ghana
Cardiff University students in Ghana on outreach

During the trip to Malawi, students provided sight tests, participated in a low vision masterclass and taught registrars reflection. They were also able to observe and watch different surgeries, and saw a significant number of pathologies they had not observed before. They tested the sight of more than 150 people during the four and a half day outreach programme.

Optometry student, Maddie Rouse, who was part of the group delivering eye care in Malawi, said: “We gained invaluable experience before going into third year and it has given us a foundation of practice and knowledge that cannot be taught easily.”

She added: “The Malawi trip not only allowed us to develop optometry skills, but has given us a whole new perspective on life.”

Cardiff students with a large group of children in Malawi
Cardiff University students in Ghana on outreach