Wednesday 9 September 2015

Returning Vision Moldova 2015, by Claire Matheson, 3rd Year Optometry Student

I have recently got back from a Returning Vision trip to Moldova which was very rewarding. I went from Stanstead Airport with 5 other students and 5 supervisors. We took equipment and new glasses with common prescriptions. I also took a whole case of the spectacles donated to Matheson Optometrists, which allowed us to help many more people.

In Britain, we are very lucky as the majority have the glasses we need - but in poorer countries, many people don't have access to eye-care. In fact, over one billion people in the world can't see properly - just because they don't have glasses. Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and therefore one where help from Returning Vision is greatly appreciated.

We stayed in a village in Rezina and drove each morning to a different rural village. When we arrived on Sunday, we met the kind volunteer translators who were essential to the success of the trip.

On Monday we travelled to the village Papauti, and were able to see every person who turned up. Most people had never had an eye test before and were unable to see well in the distance and many people over the age of 45 couldn’t see close up to read or perform near tasks. Some children had high prescriptions so struggled to read and do all the things we take for granted. It was fantastic to give them glasses and transform their quality of life.

On Tuesday we got up very early and travelled to the village Mateuti. We worked until everyone had been seen.

Wednesday was also busy and I was able to assist in a domiciliary visit out to a lady who was unable to get to the school where we were testing.

On Thursday we saw 588 people!

Friday was our last day of testing and in total we were able to help 1708 people.

Matheson Optometrists donated a specialist eye examination lens to local Moldovan Ophthalmologist, Irina Varlan, This will help the local eye hospital to provide better care for its patients.

Thanks to everyone who donated money and their old spectacles – without which we 
wouldn’t have been able to help so many people.

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