Vision Aid Overseas
Vision Aid Overseas is a charity dedicated to helping people in the developing world whose lives are blighted by poor eyesight.
Vision Aid Overseas sends teams of volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians abroad where they up clinics, screen large number of patients and provide appropriate spectacles.
Recycled spectacles are used in the third world where glasses are not normally available.
Exmoor Eyecare Opticians has supported Vision Aid Overseas for a number of years. We collect spectacles for recycling and Vision Aid Overseas is our nominated charity.
So if you have any old glasses, please bring them into us and will send them to Vision Aid Overseas.
Bryan and Christine James were both able to volunteer on separate Vision Aid Overseas Projects during 2010.
Bryan James went to Ethiopia in May 2010. He spent a fortnight in May in Ethiopia, as part of a team of four. They were based in a Hospital in Butajira, a town about 130kms south of Addis, on the edge of the Rift Valley. It is an established project with a workshop set up by VAO and there is an Ethiopian trained optometrist based there. They spent the next two weeks travelling up to 100km each way on outreach projects, visiting the outlying villages.
Using local medical centres they examined over 800 people in the two weeks.
The greatest need was for reading spectacles, one person Bryan James saw, required them especially to use his prayer book and mobile phone! There were various eye problems particularly linked to their poverty and high degrees of short sightedness.
His memories of the trip, apart from being able to make a difference providing spectacles to help people to carry on working ,was the beautiful countryside, and the friendships made, not just within the team but amongst the warm welcoming local Ethiopian nurses and translators with whom they were working.
Christine James, a Dispensing Optician, spent 2 weeks, in December 2010, visiting Burkina Faso in Africa, one of the world’s poorest nations, on a VAO project.
The team of 8 (6 Optometrists and 2 Dispensing Opticians) saw over 2500 people and able to dispense 1900 spectacles in the two towns (Yako and Bousse) where they held clinics. Dispensing was done outside in the shade and could be interesting with goats, chickens and even donkeys visiting!
Christine says “It was a joy to see some people seeing more clearly for the first time. Others needed spectacles in order to be able to see to continue working – school teachers, radio repairers etc. Those needing cataract operations were able to be referred to another charity to be carried out in the near future, but it was also sad that there were a few people we were unable to help because of their eye conditions.”
The people of Burkina Faso were very grateful for the help they were given by Vision Aid Overseas who send teams out each year to various parts of Burkina Faso and other developing countries throughout the year.
Bryan and Chris James thank all those who donated spectacles and gave in sponsorship towards the projects.