ONESIGHT: 25 OPTOMETRY STUDENTS ATTEND THE TANZANIA 2017 VISION CARE CLINIC

ONESIGHT: 25 OPTOMETRY STUDENTS ATTEND THE TANZANIA 2017 VISION CARE CLINIC

For the first time, OneSight has engaged optometry students from American universities by allowing them to attend the Tanzania 2017 Vision Care Clinic held in Dar es Salaam in May 2017.

This extraordinary life and educational experience allowed twenty-five students to work alongside Luxottica’s experienced doctors and volunteers to help residents of the city who live in poor conditions and no regular access to quality vision care and glasses.

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Since 1988 OneSight has remained true to its mission: provide clear sight to all people in the world through access to quality vision care and glasses. According to recent studies, the number of people who need glasses but lack access is huge: one in seven on our planet. The reasons include economic hardship as well as cultural and social barriers.

OneSight provides vision care access in two primary ways, depending on the needs of a particular community: 1) building permanent and sustainable facilities to serve local communities worldwide and 2) setting-up temporary clinics wherever needed to provide immediate eye-care and glasses for thousands of people within a few day or weeks. As OneSight’s founding global sponsor, Luxottica provides financial support as well as the fundamental contribution of its employees who voluntarily make available their highly specialized skills and expertise.

OneSight organizes charitable “vision care clinics” throughout the world, helping hundreds of thousands of people each year to see better. Periodically, the organization evaluates the possibility of extending its activities to new countries: in 2016, OneSight held a charitable vision care clinic in Tanzania for the first time.

The Republic of Tanzania is a diverse country in Eastern Africa, where more than 100 languages are spoken. The country’s largest city, and former capital, is Dar es Salaam, which is also the third fastest-growing city in Africa. Yet, about 70% of citizens live in poverty on the equivalent of just under $1 a day, in dwellings with floors made of earth or sand, without running water and basic public services.

These conditions hinder regular access to healthcare and vision care. For this reason, OneSight decided to help the poorest people in the region by organizing a first charitable clinic in Dar es Salaam at the end of 2016 and a second one in May 2017. The latter had a peculiarity. For the first time, OneSight engaged optometry students from American universities to apply, selecting twenty-five of them to become part of the clinic team in partnership with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA).

The selected students had the opportunity to work alongside a global team of volunteers, including Luxottica’s experienced doctors of optometry and local students and doctors. This common effort made it possible to set up the temporary eye clinic in just a few days to provide free and high-quality eye care and eyewear (including glasses and sunglasses) to more than 3,500 people including about 60% adults and 40% schoolchildren.

Optometry students contributed to each part of the patients’ journey through the clinic, from the initial screening to fitting their new glasses. For many of them, it was the first "field test" of what they had learned at school. A unique life-changing, educational and working experience, made even more significant from the intensive teamwork with Luxottica’s volunteers as well as the opportunity to know a different country and build relations with the local community.

Sarah Gleason, a student from SUNY State College of Optometry, gratefully stated, “Working with such an incredible group of colleagues to give care to those who would have otherwise gone without was truly life changing.”

“This [experience] makes me want to be a better doctor” OD student, Charlotte Love  from Michigan College of Optometry to said.

#VisionEmpowers is the theme that OneSight has chosen for the Tanzania 2017 Vision Care Clinic. This evocative name, in fact, reflects the importance of seeing well to live better. Healthy eyes and clear vision empower students to learn more and improve their school performance; all people to work better, carry out daily activities and clearly see the beauty of the world around them.

Last updated: Feb 14 2019