Paul Clarke has led 21 volunteer trips to India to screen and provide spectacles to underprivileged people of Tamil Nadu. Susan Ang travels to Cambodia every year to manage an optometrists’ screening program. Shaun Chang treks through Everest National Park to provide eye health services to the children of Sherpas. Earlier this year, Tuong Nghiem and An Vu travelled to Vietnam for the first time to support The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Vietnam Child Eye Care Project.
For the lead story this issue, I interviewed all of these people, as well as representatives from OneSight and Essilor Vision Foundation. As you’d expect, when you ask people about what they get out of volunteering their time to help others, the overwhelming response was, “much more than the people we help.”
Volunteering provides an opportunity to connect with and learn from people from different cultures, to help those in need and to significantly change their lives. It also connects you at a deeper level with others in the profession and challenges your clinical and organisational skills.
What I learnt from writing this story, is just how much goes into organising volunteer trips and the skills that are developed along the way. Negotiating with government, health departments, schools and NGOs, fund raising, organising the supply and transportation of medical equipment; creating community awareness to attract patients; recruiting fellow volunteers, then organising them on the job. This is event management, fundraising, marketing, human resources management and healthcare on steroids! Hats off to the many who dedicate a significant part of their lives to initiating, organising and participating in these missions. I hope you enjoy their stories.
In the lead up to November, optometrists have been able to attend three major education conferences – WAVE, TLC and the Specsavers Clinical Conference. You’ll find reviews of them all in this issue, along with a review of the annual ophthalmology conference, AUSCRS. If you still need to gather CPD points, you can get along to Blue Sky Congress in Adelaide during November. You can also tackle the diverse education articles we’ve published here. The first, by Dr. Emma Gillies is on the tear film; the second by Nicola Peaper is on problem solving non-tolerance to prescriptions and spectacles. Our third article, by David Stephensen takes an entertaining look at the reasons why your patients might just be tempted to dive into the sea or a pool wearing their contact lenses without protection… and what you might do to dissuade them. With summer on our doorsteps, this is good timing!
At the forefront of ophthalmology, our guest editor, Dr. Kerry Meades, writes about her evolving preferences for refractive surgery technology and we have a story about Dr. Greg Moloney who is using the most innovative procedures to perform corneal surgery.
Moving on to fashion, this issue focuses on the mature market with a feature on premium progressive lenses and one on eyewear for the booming 50-plus market. We also profile ThinOptics – an ultra slim ready reader that’s a handy slip in the purse or pocket accessory for the more forgetful among us. Oh, that would be me!