Optom summer volunteer

Michael Offord spends his two-week summer holiday volunteering as part of a Vision Aid Overseas project

Michael Offord

Independent optometrist, Michael Offord, will spend his two week summer holiday this month volunteering as part of a Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) project. It will be the 15th consecutive year that Mr Offord has been a professional volunteer on the charity's projects.

Mr Offord will travel to Zambia as part of a group of six optometrists, opticians and support staff. The team will spend two weeks examining and treating patients in two remote villages close to Lake Tanganyika in the north east of the country.

Commenting on volunteering, Mr Offord said: "It is really satisfying to transfer my skills and really make a difference to people's lives. It's an emotional rollercoaster as, unlike many of our patients back in the UK, we see people at the end stages of cataracts and glaucoma which can be very distressing."

"However, 99% of the people we examine and treat in our work with Vision Aid Overseas are overjoyed and to see their faces light up when we've dispensed them with new glasses is amazing," he added.

Professional volunteer coordinator for VAO, Judith Trigg, said: "It's wonderful to have the continued support of Michael and all of the professional volunteers and supporters who work tirelessly for our patients overseas. It is incredible to see the difference they have made and continue to make."

Ms Trigg added: "Without people like Michael giving up their free time to travel on assignments, the work we do wouldn't be possible."