SVOSH Honduras Trip: Bringing Eye Care – and Caring – to Patients in Need
Northeastern State University’s Oklahoma College of Optometry (NSU-OCO) traveled to Roatan, Honduras in August with a mission to assist those with little access to eye care. NSU-OCO’s SVOSH (Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) chapter brought along 16 bins’ worth of supplies for their eye care clinic in Roatan. Over 4 days, the team saw “a steady stream” of patients in need of eye exams, eye care and/or glasses. The team dispensed many of the 700 pairs of sunglasses they brought, 200 of which were specifically for children. CooperVision provides grants each year to SVOSH groups across the country, many of which are engaged in mission-focused trips like this one.
Providing more than just glasses
Director Alissa Proctor, OD and the SVOSH team worked for a year to sort, clean and document prescriptions from donated glasses in preparation for the trip. All of the glasses were inventoried in a database so the correct prescription could readily be located while a patient was being examined. The group dispensed almost 700 glasses with distance, near and bifocal prescriptions. Additionally, they diagnosed more than 50 medical conditions – among them glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and pterygium – which were referred to a local clinic for further care. “We dispensed ALL of our allergy drops (and we could have used more!) and much of our glaucoma medication and artificial tears,” said Dr. Proctor.
Many in the group expressed how much the trip impacted them personally and professionally, and shared memorable moments from those four days:
“Being able to serve the people of Honduras was incredibly motivational and inspiring, and reminded me of my enthusiasm for optometry. Also, seeing how thankful the people of Honduras were, reminded me of how thankful I should be for the abundance we have in America. It was an experience I will never forget.”
“One of my favorite parts of the trip was dispensing my very own pair of glasses that I had worn in 6th grade! After using the computer system and finding a match for her glasses prescription, I realized that they were my very own glasses that I had donated!”
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All optometry schools and colleges are eligible for the SVOSH program grants, provided they are registered as a student chapter with VOSH International. Check to make sure your school and/or college is registered here: