I was lucky enough to join the October 2014 HIS Vision team at the last minute. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to contribute to the mission of this amazing organization. HIS Vision is a unique opportunity for eye care professionals in that an established clinic has been opened in a community outside of Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Often times, overseas opportunities for eye care professionals do not involve an established clinic, but rather mobile clinics that set up when professionals are available and therefore, continuity of care is difficult. With HIS Vision, in addition to treating patients, eye care professionals (administrators, opticians, technicians and doctors) are able to contribute to the development of a clinic that is staffed year round by Haitian eye care professionals.
While I was in Haiti vision screenings were performed at schools surrounding the clinic. At one of those screenings a 10-year-old boy was referred to the HIS Vision clinic for his first eye examination. It was at that examination I found his glasses prescription to be -7.00 in the right eye and -10.00 in the left eye. His normal view of the world was a blurry one. The clinic was able to provide this young boy with recycled glasses close to his prescription and he was able to leave the clinic seeing clearly for the first time. It’s hard to believe that there’s a country located so close to the United States where people have little to no access to what Americans would consider basic medical care.
Here is a picture of kids at an orphanage located near the clinic – because of HIS Vision they will be able to receive a vision screening and referral to the clinic if needed. They too might have a blurry view of the world and now an opportunity to see more clearly because of the work of HIS Vision.
Haiti was an amazing experience. I would encourage any eye care professional to think about donating their time and talent to HIS Vision and the work they are doing in Haiti. It’s difficult to travel to a third world country and not have your life changed. My perspective on life changed as a result of my travels and I hope others consider taking advantage of this unique and worthwhile opportunity.