Optometrist provides over 1000 sights test during Vision Aid Overseas trip

Yasmin Hirani spent two weeks in Sierra Leone screening patients and dispensing spectacles

Optometrist on VAO trip
Optometrist Yasmin Hirani screened over 4500 people, examined 1000 patients and dispensed 460 pairs of spectacles on a two-week visit to Sierra Leone with Vision Aid Overseas.

Ms Hirani, who practises at John Biddle Opticians in Bridgnorth and Wellington, raised £1700 for the charity in preparation for the trip.

In the Bombali District of Sierra Leone, where Ms Hirani was based, there is one ophthalmologist and two ophthalmic technicians for a population of over 600,000 people.

Speaking about the visit, Ms Hirani said: “We may provide the glasses, but what happens if they break and there’s no affordable eye care in their vicinity? That’s why Vision Aid Overseas sets up sustainable Vision Centres, where local professionals can work in eye health, examine eyes, and make up spectacles to a required prescription for people in their own community.”

She explained: “As professional volunteers, we have the opportunity to support local eye health workers in Africa, swapping skills and knowledge to help transform services in the long term. I would recommend volunteering to anyone. The people I have come across were amazing and inspiring and I have learnt a great deal from them. The whole experience has been very rewarding.”