Optometrist ventures to Ethiopian village to test eye sight of thousands Featured

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Published in Malmesbury Newspapers
Monday, 11 December 2017 23:20
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THE OWNER of an opticians in Malmesbury, who spent two weeks in Ethiopia testing eyes and training eye clinic staff, has said the experience was "humbling".

Jo Forss, an optometrist and the owner of J M Forss Opticians on the High Street wanted to give something back, and last month flew out to Ethiopia to support an eye clinic in the town of Nekemte for two weeks with Vision Aid Oversees.

She had to raise £1,700 to go on the trip, but thanks to the fantastic support of staff, patients, friends and family she was able to raise over £3,000.

Mrs Forss, said: "I have been a supporter of Vision Aid Oversees for many years and we collect old glasses at my practice and send them off for recycling, so I know of the great work they do providing eye care to poor countries.

"I decided to start doing the things I had always wanted to do and decided it was time I gave something back using the skills I have."

On October 27 she ventured with four other optometrists and one dispensing optician, testing eyes and training staff including nurses and technicians who worked at the clinic which has very little support and no provisions for eye testing.

They also spent four days on outreach in the community, testing the eyes of children with known vision problems.

"Going on outreach into the rural communities was humbling", Mrs Forss explained. "One group of children with their teacher walked about nine kilometres to visit us. We helped many children and saw many different types of eye problems due to a lack of Vitamin A caused by a poor diet, very high near-sightedness, injuries and sore eyes.

"Testing eyes in the clinic and on outreach was very different to being in my test room in Malmesbury. Testing in Ethiopia you certainly felt you were making a massive difference to peoples lives.

"During the two weeks there we tested over 1,000 patients and dispensed over 550 pairs of glasses.

"Students could read the blackboard, teachers could read small print again, and most of the people we saw had never had an eye test before."

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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