Each fall, CooperVision® contributes funds to the Student VOSH chapter at every school or college of optometry in North America who participates in the program.  As we prepare to send this year’s contributions, we took a moment to ask SVOSH participants from around North America to share their stories from prior years’ trips… and the response has been overwhelming!  We are therefore happy to kick off an entire monthly series of articles on the lifechanging experiences our students and optometry faculty have shared. To kick it off, we bring you this contribution from Luke, a student at Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometr

"I find it exceedingly difficult to narrow this life-changing trip down to one or two stories. Even with having attended a medical mission during my undergraduate career, there was still no way I could’ve anticipated the impact this trip would have on my life! I’m still at a loss for words!

I am so incredibly proud of our amazing VOSH team that brought desperately needed eye care to Dominica! I had an unrivaled educational experience: referring someone out for Giant Cell Arteritis, giving 2 children their first pair of glasses (OU -2.25-2.50x090), witnessing extremely advanced glaucoma and pupillary blocking pterygiums, observing a partially subluxated lens and Berlin’s edema, and the list goes on!

The most amazing part about the trip was the final day; it was at that point when I had my revelation. We spend an enormous amount of time prepping for the trip, sorting glasses, packing medications, etc. and we think we’re doing it for the people. Don’t get me wrong, we are doing it for the patients; but you also leave a different person. There’s something inexpressible that happens when you go on a mission trip with purely altruistic intentions. I was not only able to help an enormous amount of people, but every single one of the patients I saw changed me for the better too.

What an amazing country, filled with the most appreciative people I’d ever met! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity!”

Each month, we will continue to bring you inspiring stories like these from SVOSH participants all over North America.  To learn more about the work that VOSH does around the globe, visit their web site here. Do you have a VOSH/SVOSH story of your own to tell?  Send them to Dr. Jennifer Palombi at jpalombi@coopervision.com.

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